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Argument for Kurdistan Ignores Turkey's History

September 07, 2002

In "A Remedy in Iraq: Kurdish Autonomy" (Commentary, Sept. 3), David Perlmutter claims that "legally there should be an independent Kurdistan" since "the Treaty of Sevres, which delineated the breakup of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, recognized that the Kurds deserved their own state."

To substantiate his argument, he chooses to ignore the historical fact that while the Istanbul government of the Ottoman Empire officially accepted the Treaty of Sevres on Aug. 10, 1920--a vindictive document that put the Turkish state under the financial and military control of the occupying powers--the Turkish nationalists in central Anatolia under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey, rejected the document.

Following the Turkish national War of Independence, with the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne on July 24, 1923 (where no reference was made to "Kurdistan"), Turkey gained full sovereignty within its own boundaries and, thus, a new nation emerged from the ashes of the Treaty of Sevres.

Aykut Berk

Ambassador-Consul General

of the Republic of Turkey

Los Angeles

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