Kurds and allies launch a social media campaign under the hashtag #StopLausanneGenocide ahead of the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne.
The 1923 treaty is considered the founding document of the modern Republic of Turkey in the wake of the Ottoman Empire’s defeat and dissolution in the post-war period. However, it also divided the Kurdistan province, leaving the largest part within Turkey’s new borders, followed by smaller territories in Iran, Iraq and Syria. None of the newly divided Kurdish-majority provinces were recognised as such.
“Kurds acted together with the Republic at the time of the treaty,” jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan said on the matter in 2009. “To repay the debt to those Kurds … will be possible through a reconstruction of Lausanne, to complete the missing Kurdish part, which in turn is possible through the recognition of the rights and democratic freedoms of Kurds and giving them legal and constitutional guarantees.”
With the treaty, Turkey both “legitimised itself among the states of the world, and denied all diversity within the country, i.e., Kurds, Armenians, Alevis, Syriacs”, Kurdish politician Yüksel Mutlu said. “Lausanne is a project to create a single nation state.”
In a workshop discussing the centenary, historian Ayşe Hür said the treaty had “paved the way to a genocide spread over time for Kurds”, in terms of the subsequent suppression of Kurdish identity in early republic policies.
The social media campaign also calls for participation to a march scheduled for 22 July in the Swiss namesake of the treaty.
“Maps created 100 years ago have lost their meaning. The demand for status for Kurdistan will prevent the current genocidal order,” Confederation of Kurdistan Communities in Germany (KON-MED) said in a statement.
Groups will gather in the Place de la Navigation at 11:00 on 22 July, and a rally will begin at 13:00.