In its second day, a significant international conference in the Swiss city of Lausanne marks the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne. Organised by the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK), the two-day conference is aimed at commemorating the treaty that divided Kurdistan into four parts and laid the groundwork for genocidal attacks against the Kurds in the last century.
Titled “The stance of the people of Kurdistan on the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Lausanne,” the conference has drawn 600 representatives from various political parties, organisations, and institutions from Kurdistan. The discussions are centred around the importance of national unity and collective struggle among the Kurds in all four parts of Kurdistan.
Saleh Elemdar, a representative of the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD), highlighted the far-reaching consequences of the treaty. He pointed out that the Kurds were unjustly divided, compelled to live under the control of states that sought to erase their identity. Elemdar also drew attention to the ongoing attacks on Rojava by the Turkish state, which he viewed as a continuation of the Treaty of Lausanne, with similar genocidal attacks against the Kurds in North Syria and North Iraq.
The conference also featured a representative of the Kurdistan Freedom Party, who stressed the need for the Kurds to determine their unity and work towards it. Nure Alkış from the Coordination of Yazidi (Ezidi) Community spoke about the pains suffered by the Kurds and other communities in Kurdistan for the past 100 years due to the treaty.
Former MP of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), İmam Taşçıer, highlighted the potential of Kurdish unity in mitigating the impact of the Treaty of Lausanne, which had invalidated the previous status agreement between the Turkish state and the Kurds. Taşçıer called for the immediate organisation of a national congress for the Kurds, given the current political landscape and the realities in the Middle East.
The conference, which began on Saturday, continues today with a panel on “The Treaty of Lausanne and its consequences in Kurdistan,” highlighting the importance of national unity. The panel will be moderated by Selma Irmak and Xelîl Xezerî, with speakers including International Relations Historian Dr. Suheyla Qadirî from Salahaddin University, Narmen Muhamad Amen Ali, and researcher and writer Mehmet Bayrak.