Members of the Kurdish community in Sydney, along with their supporters, convened at New South Wales Parliament last week to mark a significant historical milestone – the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne.
The treaty, signed in 1923, resulted in the division of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent partitioning of Kurdish territory among Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.
The seminar, hosted by NSW Greens Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) Abigail Boyd, brought together a diverse group of speakers who shared insights into the enduring consequences of this pivotal event in Kurdish history.
Among the distinguished speakers were UNSW Law Professor Dr. Vicki Sentas, Peter Boyle representing Rojava Solidarity Sydney, and Baran Sogut and Zanin Aeivieri from the Sydney Kurdish Youth Association.
The speakers stressed that the Treaty of Lausanne, which was brokered by competing imperialist powers in the early 20th century, remains a contentious issue in the geopolitics of the Middle East. The division of Kurdish land and the subsequent marginalisation of Kurdish culture and identity have been ongoing sources of concern and activism for the global Kurdish diaspora.
Dr. Vicki Sentas, a prominent legal scholar, offered a legal perspective on the enduring implications of the Treaty, emphasising the need for international recognition of the Kurdish struggle for self-determination and human rights.
Peter Boyle, representing Rojava Solidarity Sydney, shed light on the plight of Kurds in Syria and their efforts to establish a more inclusive and equitable society.
Baran Sogut and Zanin Aeivieri from the Sydney Kurdish Youth Association underscored the importance of global solidarity in raising awareness about the challenges faced by Kurdish communities.
The event at NSW Parliament aimed to raise awareness of the historical context surrounding the Treaty of Lausanne and its impact on the Kurdish population, while also fostering a sense of unity and support within the Kurdish community and among its allies.