Kurdistan is a rich and a fertile land. Therefore, it has been subjected to aggressions and occupations. The richness of Kurdistan has always attracted both neighboring countries and other countries far away in a colonial-interest manner. They all have exploited Kurdistan and have tried to continue their dominance and occupation against the will of the Kurdistan people. These aggressors have always harmed the people of Kurdistan and have caused them bloodshed and suffering. Thus, Kurdistan has been a battlefield and a field for imposing the hegemony of outsiders. Kurdistan lost its national unity for the first time in history due to the Qesri Shirin Agreement in 1639. The agreement was a result of war between the Ottomans and the Safavids. In the aftermath of the Qesri Shirin agreement, Kurdistan was divided into two parts. This condition continued to the beginning of the 19th century.
The 19th century was a century of war and inconvenience for Kurdish and Kurdistan people. First, it was the Sykes-Picot Agreement in 1916, and then the Sévres Agreement (10 August 1920) and the last agreement, which harmed Kurdish national unity to destruction, was the Lausanne Agreement (24 July 1923). Kurdistan was no longer two parts, but rather became four parts. Establishing barbaric, exploitative and manipulative colonial system on the soil of Kurdistan became an imposed reality.
In the beginning of the Sykes-Picot agreement Kurdistan was under the mandate of powerful regional empire of the Ottomans and Safavids, but soon went to be under the mandate of more powerful emperors from far away, as Great Britain and France. Great Britain and France arbitrary made artificial Arabic countries and gave a part of Kurdistan to the Arabs too. Now the Arabs became a part of the colonial rule too in Kurdistan. The Russians exploited the political situation of that time and came from the north part of Kurdistan occupying the area between the Caucasus to the Hakkari area.
In very premature stages of the Sykes-Picot it was clear that the agreement will not survive long, specifically in the conditions of the First World War. The Sykes-Picot agreement was a political design that some powerful western states had to use it as a tool to implement its political interests in the area for the forthcoming 20th century. The United States of America then was still a young country. The Great Britain was the main political actor behind the design and the implementation of the agreement. France had its colonial-disagreements with Great Britain. In the end; France and Great Britain chose to divide the area between them as they had agreed behind closed curtains, far from indigenous people of the area. Even though the USA was not a part of this agreement, it was nevertheless in support for France and Great Britain.
However, the Sykes-Picot agreement by Sir Mark Sykes of England and Francois Georges-Picot of France did not continue as they had thought. Directly after the end of the WW1 and the birth of the Soviet Union, the Russians retreated. The agreement became in practice a political project of France and Great Britain. The Turks at that time succeeded to press Great Britain, France and their allies, with the assistance of the Soviet Union, and obviously by cheating and misleading Kurds, to make a package deal. After these concessions neither Sykes-Picot nor Sévres or other agreements became that deal which Great Britain and France was at first hopping for. Thus, their political mandate on the area became shorter lived. But Great Britain and France became the winner both in destroying the Ottoman Empire and also in establishing new Arabic entities. As the Lausanne Agreement in 1923 became a factor, Kurdistan´s divisions became a reality as it became a part of four different countries of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. Hence, these new artificial states became the new colonialists of Kurdistan.
In a similar way, the Second World War brought about new political era. The balance of power in the Middle East was changed and reshaped. From the WW1 there was first Russia and then Soviet Union. The Soviets did support the Kurdistan Democratic Republic in the aftermath of WW2, but they withdrew when it was no longer in their interest. The Russians left the Kurds alone. Unfortunately, the Kurdistan Democratic Republic did not survive under the enmity that was facing.
History must not be repeated in the same manner. The political actors who played major roll at the 18th century´s political reshape of the Middle East area are much or less the same actors who now have the desire to reshape the area and are playing the old game. The only actual change that has taken place is the fact the USA and Great Britain has changed places. Then it was Great Britain, today is the US.
Obviously the Great Britain playing the same role now as the USA was playing then. The Russians have made a comeback, showing muscles and engages in practical military operations with a clear role in the process. The Western world continues, under the leadership of the USA, making efforts to defend their interest in the area and to have a major saying in redesigning the Middle East. The rearranging of the political map is much harder today than it was then. The dynamics of the Middle East societies has changed significantly and therefore the balance of political power has changed too.
In the past, the Kurds and Kurdistan people were not active players; they were not organized and did lock of power. The people of Kurdistan today is organized, have political tools and power and therefore playing an active role. They represent the struggle for freedom, social- and gender equality, democracy, pluralism and progress.
In the process of liberating and rebuilding of Iraq, the people of Kurdistan has played an active and a constructive role and contributed to giving Iraq a federal democratic model and itself enjoys a federal status. Now the people of Kurdistan are playing the same active and constructive role in Rojava and Syria. They have showed great administration and protection skills and have gained international acknowledgement and is an international partner against terrorism and dictatorship. The building and the protection of the Cantons-system required great sacrifices, but succeeded. With announcing the “Federal status of Rojava and Northern Syria”, the people of Kurdistan have taken an even a greater step forward toward a system of pluralistic and peaceful coexistence.
There is not only the Western world, but also Turkey, Iran and Russia and other players in the Syrian conflict. There is a lot that goes on and every player fighting for own specific interests which has to do with the reshaping of Syria. In this framework; we are witnessing that those states which are having Kurdistan as a colony, using all of their military, political and diplomatic power, and that in very hostile manner, against people of Kurdistan. They try hard to keep the current status-quo as it has been and to keep Kurdistan as suppressed and as colonized as before.
Their aim is to have Kurdistan to be remained under their own national hegemony. Baghdad is still, despite all positive efforts by the Kurds, not in favor of a federal Iraqi system and not seeing Kurds as equal to Arabs. Damascus shows much anger in seeing the people of Rojava making progress in building workable pluralistic and democratic system. Ankara and Tehran has loosed political tolerance since the very beginning of the liberating process and doing everything they can to bring the progress to halt. They both have strong national interests to stop any Kurdish progress might happen and rather have a dream for rebuilding own old empires. Their main aim though, by attacking Rojava and Bashur, is to stop Kurdish people in Turkey and in Iran to get same national and democratic rights and political status. The people of Kurdistan are not accepting such a dominance and hegemony as it has refused it before and will resist it in future too. It must get its national-, democratic- and human rights.
The Kurdish people are now powerful, enjoying great will of resistance and self-confidence. It struggles everywhere in the area and on international level to make their voice be heard and to represent interests of Kurdistan. Due to the current situation reflected by dictatorship, totalitarianism and authoritarianism and ultra-nationalistic governance of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria and due to the Kurdish political gains and also the will of Kurdistan people in Rojhelat (Iranian) and in Bakur (Turkey) to struggle for peace and democracy, despite the hardship, the level of the liberation struggle have arisen to the peak. This great versatile struggle has stopped against this Sykes-Picot agreement and will leave it weak-willed, apathetic and functionless. In the eve of this bad omen the people of Kurdistan believe in a free will, sisterhood, peace and love.
Unfortunately, there are weak links among Kurdish people. In this very moment which requires great awareness, togetherness and conciliation, we are not as united as we should be. We need to be united. In this very conflicts, in the middle of political- and religious confusion and uncivilized behaviors; the colonial states and other dark forces can see our weaknesses and discord and they will use it against us. In the eve of this curse of Sykes-Picot which caused Kurdistan into division, as it loose its legitimacy and enforcement, the new form of the Middle East must grant the people of Kurdistan the national and democratic rights it deserves. It is otherwise impossible for the Kurds to accept it.
The people of Kurdistan are very determined to struggle for her indigenous rights and will never compromise. At the same time there are always those who think rational and try to solve the issues by dialogs and give the other side the right to be a part of a political and peaceful negotiation according to the political issues which matters today. These efforts must be respected and gives an opportunity. The Kurds can absolutely, with the support and solidarity of other suppressed nations in Kurdistan, decide on it is own destiny and the right of self-determination. The most important thing is that the people of Kurdistan have the right to choose their own destiny by practicing the right of self-determination and have the right to call it anything it finds suitable.
In the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement, the main task on our shoulder is to strengthen fraternity at any coast. We, the people of Kurdistan, must find a political form which is best suitable for our national unity. Every step towards national unity is a step forward to confront the will of the colonialists. It is the step which in the end stops colonial policies against Kurdish people. At the same time, it shortens the way to our liberation and to realize our values.
Not only the Sykes-Picot but also the Lausanne agreement too must be discarded. There is a great opportunity ahead of us to establish a genuine national unity which we have already started.
The existence of two different political statuses in Iraq and Syria based on federal system, make a physical platform available for our national unity. Through internal peaceful dialogs and discussion, the process of national unity that we need happens easier. The people of Kurdistan must put the internal dialogue on the agenda.
In the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which has become a meaningless and a source of disgust to the people, the Kurdistan National Congress sees strengthening the national unity as the main and as the most priority task. This national unity will with no doubt effect the course of the developments. The Kurds and other nationalities in Kurdistan have gained awareness of national and patriotic that they will not let themselves down and will struggle to the end.
In the beginning of this agreement some international powers gave a specific shape to the Middle East in which the people of Kurdistan, not only were excluded, but sadly got divided too. Today, with the beginning of the 21st century, while there are efforts to reshape the area again, the people of Kurdistan must get its fair share that satisfies. We, as the people of Kurdistan, have much to say about this. There is an alternative to the yesterday’s colonial agreements as Sykes-Pico, Sévres and Lausanne. We have to abolish these agreements and their practical meanings.
The people of Kurdistan have the ability to stand against regional and international aggressors and put their own demands on the agenda. This is the way to abrogate this harmful and pernicious agreement which has coast our people much pain and loss. We can make our gains bigger and the same time protect them. Today, probably for the first time in the history, we see democratic political conditions on the international level that can be in the favor of our just cause. We have to seize this opportunity. We as the people of Kurdistan must do more than ever and to perform our best and show the world that we stay put and demand our just rights.
The geographical lines between Iraq and Syria have already disappeared. The geographical lines between the Bashur (Iraqi Kurdistan) and Rojava (Kurdistan of Syria) no longer exist. There is a de facto of two Kurdish federal entities on both sides. We are not obliged and not in debt and for sure not bound to protect these lines of fake territories for others. We do not have to accept them. We as the people of Kurdistan must in practice abolish these colonial territories between Bashur and Rojava. In this way we unite two parts of Kurdistan. In the hundredth anniversary of the Sykes-Picot agreement, the Kurdistan National Congress, first and foremost, call on the administrations of the Bashur and Rojava and on every organization and political parties in Kurdistan, to put working towards abolishing of Sykes-Picot agreement on the top of their agenda. We all together have to discard this agreement to the dustbin of history. This is our first and top priority, a priority that must be everywhere we find us.
The Executive Council of the Kurdistan National Congress/ KNK