Halabja Poison Gas Massacre

The Halabja poison gas attack (Kurdish: Kîmyabarana Helebce), also known as Halabja massacre or Bloody Friday, was a genocidal massacre against the Kurdish people that took place on March 16, 1988, during the closing days of the Iran–Iraq War, when chemical weapons were used by the Iraqi government forces in the Kurdish town of Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan.

The attack killed between 3,200 and 5,000 people, and injured around 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians; thousands more died of complications, diseases, and birth defects in the years after the attack. The incident, which has been officially defined as an act of genocide against the Kurdish people in Iraq, was and still remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history.

The Halabja attack has been recognized as a separate event from the Anfal Genocide that was also conducted against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein. The Iraqi High Criminal Court recognized the Halabja massacre as an act of genocide on March 1, 2010, a decision welcomed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The attack was also condemned as a crime against humanity by the Parliament of Canada.


It was an event that is historically separate from the Operation Anfal (the 1986-1989 campaign conducted by Saddam Hussein’s regime’s in order to terrorize the Kurdish rural population and end the peshmerga rebellions by brutal means), as the Iranian troops allied to the rebels were also involved in the Halabja events. Nevertheless, the victims of the tragedy are often included in accounting the deaths attributable to the Anfal campaign, which was characterised by the widespread and indiscriminate use of chemical weapons by Iraq.

Chemical attacks

The five-hour attack began early in the evening of March 16, 1988, following a series of indiscriminate conventional (rocket and napalm) attacks, when Iraqi MiG and Mirage aircraft began dropping chemical bombs on Halabja’s residential areas, far from the besieged Iraqi army base on the outskirts of the town. According to regional Kurdish rebel commanders, Iraqi aircraft conducted up to 14 bombings in sorties of seven to eight planes each; helicopters coordinating the operation were also seen. Eyewitnesses told of clouds of smoke billowing upward “white, black and then yellow”‘, rising as a column about 150 feet (46 m) in the air.

Survivors said the gas at first smelled of sweet apples; they said people died in a number of ways, suggesting a combination of toxic chemicals (some of the victims “just dropped dead” while others “died of laughing”; while still others took a few minutes to die, first “burning and blistering” or coughing up green vomit). It is believed that Iraqi forces used multiple chemical agents during the attack, including mustard gas and the nerve agents sarin, tabun and VX; some sources have also pointed to the blood agent hydrogen cyanide (most of the wounded taken to hospitals in the Iranian capital Tehran were suffering from mustard gas exposure).



The first images after the attack were taken by Iranian journalists who later spread the pictures in Iranian newspapers; a film of the atrocity was also shown worldwide via news programmes. Some of those first pictures were taken by Iranian photographer Kaveh Golestan. Recalling the scenes at Halabja, Golestan described the scene to Guy Dinmore of the Financial Times: he was about eight kilometres outside Halabja with a military helicopter when the Iraqi MiG-23 fighter-bombers flew in. “It was not as big as a nuclear mushroom cloud, but several smaller ones: thick smoke,” he said. He was shocked by the scenes on his arrival in the town, though he had seen gas attacks before during the brutal Iran-Iraq War:

It was life frozen. Life had stopped, like watching a film and suddenly it hangs on one frame. It was a new kind of death to me. You went into a room, a kitchen and you saw the body of a woman holding a knife where she had been cutting a carrot. (…) The aftermath was worse. Victims were still being brought in. Some villagers came to our chopper. They had 15 or 16 beautiful children, begging us to take them to hospital. So all the press sat there and we were each handed a child to carry. As we took off, fluid came out of my little girl’s mouth and she died in my arms.

Saddam Hussein’s government officially blamed Iran for the attack. The international response at the time was muted and the United States even suggested Iran was responsible. The United States government, which at the time was allied with Iraq in its war with Iran, said the images could not be verified to be the responsibility of Iraq.



Destruction and partial restoration of the city

After the city was retaken from the hands of the Iranian and Kurdish forces, Iraqi troops in NBC suits came to Halabja to study the effectiveness of their weapons and attacks. The town, littered with unburied dead, was then systematically razed by the Iraqi forces using bulldozers and explosives. It was partially rebuilt by the returning Kurds later, even as chemical weapons contaminated the food and water supplies,soil, and animal populations. In 2003, some 50,000 people lived in the city, compared to some 80,000 in 1988. As of 2008, it is believed there are still undiscovered mass graves in Halabja.

Medical and genetic consequences

In surveys by local doctors, a higher percentage of medical disorders, miscarriages (14 times higher), and colon cancer (10 times higher) was found in Halabja compared to Chamchamal; additionally, “other cancers, respiratory ailments, skin and eye problems, fertility and reproductive disorders are measurably higher in Halabja and other areas caught in chemical attacks”. Some of those who survived the attack or were apparently injured only lightly at the time, later developed medical problems doctors believe stemmed from the chemicals, and there are concerns that the attack may be having a lasting genetic impact on the Kurdish population, as preliminary surveys show increased rates of birth defects.


On December 23, 2005, a Dutch court sentenced Frans van Anraat, a businessman who bought chemicals on the world market and sold them to Saddam’s regime, to 15 years in prison. The Dutch court ruled that Saddam committed genocide against the people of Halabja; this was the first time a court described the Halabja attack as an act of genocide. On 12 March 2008, the government of Iraq announced plans to take further legal action against the suppliers of chemicals used in the poison gas attack.

Neither Saddam Hussein nor his cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid (who commanded Iraqi forces in northern Iraq in that period, which earned him a nickname of “Chemical Ali”) were charged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal for crimes against humanity relating to the events at Halabja. However, the Iraqi prosecutors had “500 documented baskets of crimes during the Hussein regime” and Hussein was condemned to death based on just one case (the 1982 Dujail Massacre). Among several documents revealed during the trial of Saddam Hussein, one was a 1987 memorandum from Iraq’s military intelligence seeking permission from the president’s office to use mustard gas and the nerve agent sarin against Kurds. A second document said in reply that Saddam had ordered military intelligence to study the possibility of a “sudden strike” using such weapons against Iranian and Kurdish forces. An internal memo written by military intelligence confirmed it had received approval from the president’s office for a strike using “special ammunition” and emphasized that no strike would be launched without first informing the president.

On 18 December 2006, Saddam Hussein told the court:

In relation to Iran, if any military or civil official claims that Saddam gave orders to use either conventional or special ammunition, which as explained is chemical, I will take responsibility with honor. But I will discuss any act committed against our people and any Iraqi citizen, whether Arab or Kurdish. I don’t accept any insult to my principles or to me personally.

Ali Hassan al-Majid (“Chemical Ali”) was condemned to death by hanging by an Iraqi court in January 2010, after being found guilty of orchestrating the Halabja massacre. Majid was first sentenced to hang in 2007 for his role in a 1988 military campaign against ethnic Kurds, codenamed Operation Anfal; in 2008 he also twice received a death sentence for his crimes against the Iraqi Shia Muslims, in particular for his role in crushing the 1991 uprisings in southern Iraq and his involvement in the 1999 killings in the Sadr City (then Saddam City) district of Baghdad. He was executed on January 25, 2010.

International sources for technology and chemical precursors

The know-how and material for developing chemical weapons were obtained by Saddam’s regime from foreign firms.The largest suppliers of precursors for chemical weapons production were in Singapore (4,515 tons), the Netherlands (4,261 tons), Egypt (2,400 tons), India (2,343 tons), and West Germany (1,027 tons). One Indian company, Exomet Plastics (now part of EPC Industrie Ltd.) sent 2,292 tons of precursor chemicals to Iraq. The Kim Al-Khaleej firm, located in Singapore and affiliated to United Arab Emirates, supplied more than 4,500 tons of VX, sarin, and mustard gas precursors and production equipment to Iraq.

The provision of chemical precursors from United States companies to Iraq was enabled by a Ronald Reagan administration policy that removed Iraq from the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Leaked portions of Iraq’s “Full, Final and Complete” disclosure of the sources for its weapons programs shows that thiodiglycol, a substance needed to manufacture mustard gas, was among the chemical precursors provided to Iraq from US companies such as Alcolac International and Phillips. Both companies have since undergone reorganization and Phillips, once a subsidiary of Phillips Petroleum is now part of ConocoPhillips, an American oil and discount fossil fuel company, while Alcolac International has since dissolved and reformed as Alcolac Inc. Alcolac was named as a defendant in the Aziz v. Iraq case presently pending in the United States District Court (Case No. 1:09-cv-00869-MJG).


Allegations of Iranian involvement

An investigation into responsibility for the Halabja massacre, by Dr Jean Pascal Zanders, Project Leader of the Chemical and Biological Warfare Project at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute concluded in 2007 that Iraq was the culprit, and not Iran. The U.S. State Department, however, in the immediate aftermath of the incident, took the official position based on examination of available evidence that Iran was partly to blame.

A preliminary Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) study at the time reported that it was Iran that was responsible for the attack, an assessment which was used subsequently by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) for much of the early 1990s. The CIA’s senior political analyst for the Iran-Iraq war, Stephen C. Pelletiere, co-authored an unclassified analysis of the war which contained a brief summary of the DIA study’s key points. The CIA altered its position radically in the late 1990s and cited Halabja frequently in its evidence of weapons of mass destruction before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Pelletiere claimed that a fact that has not been successfully challenged is that Iraq was not known to have possessed the cyanide-based blood agents determined to have been responsible for the condition of the bodies that were examined, and that blue discolorations around the mouths of the victims and in their extremities, pointed to Iranian-used gas as the culprit. Leo Casey writing in Dissent Magazine argued that “None of the authors of these documents … had any expertise in medical and forensic sciences, and their speculation doesn’t stand up to minimal scrutiny.” Some opponents to the Iraq sanctions have cited the DIA report to support their position that Iraq was not responsible for the Halabja attack.

Joost Hiltermann, who was the principal researcher for the Human Rights Watch between 1992–1994, conducted a two-year study of the massacre, including a field investigation in northern Iraq. According to his analysis of thousands of captured Iraqi secret police documents and declassified U.S. government documents, as well as interviews with scores of Kurdish survivors, senior Iraqi defectors and retired U.S. intelligence officers, it is clear that Iraq carried out the attack on Halabja, and that the United States, fully aware of this, accused Iran, Iraq’s enemy in a fierce war, of being partly responsible for the attack. This research concluded there were numerous other gas attacks, unquestionably perpetrated against the Kurds by the Iraqi armed forces. According to Hiltermann, the literature on the Iran-Iraq war reflects a number of allegations of chemical weapons use by Iran, but these are “marred by a lack of specificity as to time and place, and the failure to provide any sort of evidence”. Hiltermann called these allegations “mere assertions” and added that “no persuasive evidence of the claim that Iran was the primary culprit was ever presented.” The 2002 International Crisis Rroup (ICG) no. 136 “Arming Sadaam:The Yugoslav Connection” concludes it was “tacit approval” by many world governments that led to the Iraqi regime being armed with weapons of mass destruction, despite sanctions, because of the ongoing Iranian conflict.

Zilan Massacre

 Zilan massacre or Zilan Valley massacre (Kurdish: Komkujiya Zîlan[4] or Komkujiya Geliyê Zîlan), refers to the massacre of the Kurdish residents of Turkey during the Ararat rebellion, in which 800-1500 armed men participated.

It took place in the Zilan or Zeylan valley (Kurdish: Geliyê Zîlan) located to the north of the town of Erciş in Van Province in July 1930 before Third Ararat Operation that was a military operation of Turkish IX Corps under the command of Ferik (lieutenant general) Salih (Omurtak) against Mount Ararat. According to the daily newspaper Cumhuriyet dated July 16, 1930, about 15,000 people, according to Hesen Hîşyar Serdî (1907-September 14, 1985, a participant to the Ararat rebellion and writer), 47,000 villagers from 18 villages of Ademan, Sipkan, Zilan and Hesenan tribes, according to Garo Sasuni (an Armenian researcher), 5,000 women, children and the elderly were massacred. According to Berliner Tageblatt, the Turks in the area of Zilan destroyed 220 villages and massacred 4,500 women and the elderly.


After Sheikh Said rebellion, on September 24, 1925, the Turkish government prepared the “Reform Plan for the East” that provided for special administrative arrangements for the Eastern areas and introduced the Inspector-General system. With this plan, Kurdish aristocrats and religious leaders were forced to be relocated to other parts of Turkey. On July 17, 1927, with the “Law on the Transfer of Certain People from Eastern Regions to the Western Provinces”, the target of the forced migration was extended.

On October 5, 1927, in Greater Lebanon, Xoybûn was founded by former members of Kurdish nationalist organisations like Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti, Kürt Millet Fırkası, Comite de Independence Kurde, together with Kurdish intellectuals who took refuge in Iraq, Iran ve Syria, with help of former members of Dashnaktsutyun. In 1927 Hoybûn that was led by Celadet Alî Bedirxan, Kamuran Alî Bedirxan, Ekrem Cemilpaşa, Memdûh Selîm and so on, decided to promote Ihsan Nuri, a former officer in the Ottoman and Turkish armies, to general (pasha) and sent to Erzurum with 20 comrade. They published a newspaper named Agirî and declared independence of the Republic of Ararat in 1927. In October 1927, Xoybûn made appeals to the Great Powers and the League of Nations, and appointed Ibrahim Haski, who was one of the chieftains of Jalali tribe, to the governor of Aigrî.

Cabinet Decision

On May 9, 1928, the Turkish government enacted the amnesty law and amnesty was offered to all oppositional Kurds willing to submit to the Kemalist government and Kurdish nationalists were freed from prison. But attempts of the Turkish government at initiating meaningful negotiations failed and the Turkish government decided to negotiate directly with Ihsan Nuri Pasha but in vain.

On December 29, 1929, Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk) led the cabinet meeting with paticipations of the Chief of the General Staff Fevzi Çakmak and İbrahim Tali (Öngören), the general inspector of the First Inspectorate-General. It was adopted the cabinet decision (No. 8692., Dated 29.12.1929.) that the military operation against Mount Ararat would be started in June 1930.

Order of the General Staff

On January 7, 1930, General Staff of the Republic of Turkey sent order to IX Corps (as follows) with the text of the cabinet dicision itself:
  • Villages inhabited by rebels between Bulakbaşı and Şıhlı Köyü and places of refuge will be occupied. And let rebels debar from livelihood bases.
  • After cleaning district from bandits, to follow toward the line of Ararat peak and establish garrisons in occupied territories.
  • Only mobile gendarmerie forces will winter between 1930 and 1931. In district no residential areas, except needs for gendarmerie regiments, will not be left.
  • In this wise, rebels debared from food and housing needs will be distributed or be forced to take refuge in Iran. In this case, problem will be solved with Iran.
  • Operation will begin in the last week of June 1930 and before harvest season.
  • The commander of IX Corps will direct military operation.
Postponement of the Offensive Against Mount Ararat
On March 18, 1930, Salih (Omurtak) was appointed the commander of IX Corps (to May 8, 1934).On June 11, 1930, armed hostilities were initiated by Turkish military against the Ararat insurgents. Xoybûn appealed for help for Kurds throughout Kurdistan. İhsan Nuri sent to Îbrahîm Aga an offensive order dated June 18, 1930. A Turkish Captain Zühtü (Güven), who was an officer of 2nd Mobile Gendarmerie Battalion at Iğdır, got this order from a Kurdish rebel. That is why much to the Turks’ dismay, the insurgents were answered on a wide front, Turks temporarily to abandon their offensive against Mount Ararat.

On June 19–20, 1930, hundreds of rebels led by Kör Hüseyin Pasha (former commander of the North group of the Hamidiye regiments)’s sons and Emin Pasha’s sons crossed the border from Persia, cut the telegraph line between Çaldıran and Beyazit. More than one hundred of them raided the center of Zeylan district and the station of gendarmier. They made their own tribesmen of the district join to them. This Kurdish offensive and offensives at Patnos, Çaldıran will be named the Zeylan Rebellion by the Turkish authority.

According to general Salih’s official report dated July 2, 1930 about the situations of the north of the Lake Van, 350-400 rebels led by Kör Hüseyin’s sons and Eminpasha’s sons were at Patonos area surrounded by Sofu Mustafa – Kâni – Yukarı Romik – Çakırbey – Gürgüre – Haçlı – Koru – Harabe Kürk – Çavuş villages. All of villagers supported them. About 400 rebels led by Seyit Resul were at Zeylân area surrounded by Şurik – Su Souk – Kadir Asker – Münevver – Sivik – Ağı – Dedeli – Şeytan Ava villages. All of villagers supported them. Obscure number of rebels led by Yusuf Abdal were at Çaldıran area surrounded by Aşağı Çilli – Şeyh Rumi – Alikelle – Haçan – Kaymaz – Şeyh Sucu villages.


The Turkish army used two corps (VII Corps and IX Corps) and 80 aircraft for cleaning operation from July 8, 1930. Generally the date that the massacre took place was considered as July 13, 1930, but Yusuf Mazhar, who was the special correspondent of the daily Cumhuriyet that was the Turkey’s most widely read daily paper in 1930-1940s, reported the cleaning in districts of Erciş, Mount Süphan and Zeylân was completely finished by telephone on July 12, 1930.

44 villages in Zilan canyon: Hesenebdal (Hasanabdal), Axs (Eqis, Doluca), Şarbazar (Şehirpazar), Doxancî (Doğancı), Tendûrek (Gergili), Çaxirbeg (Çakırbey), Îlanlî (Yılanlı), Harhus, Babazik (Aksakal), Komir (Kömür), Şor (Taşkapı), Şorik, Merşîd (Mürşit), Mescidlî (Mescitli), Qerekilîse (Işbaşı, Sabanbüken), Gunduk (Kündük), Zorava (Yöreli), Eryatîn (Aryutin), Kevan (Hallacköy), Qoçkoprî (Koçköprü), Kurûçem (Çemê Ziwa, Kuruçem), Milk (Mülk), Yekmal û Kilîse (Yalındam), Gosk, Partaşa Jêrîn (Aşağı Partaş ), Partaşa Jorîn (Yukarı Partaş), Binesi, Bunizi, Pilaqlî, Keix, Sigûdlî (Sögütlü), Mığare, Qardoxan (Kardoğan), Kele (Evbeyli), Ûstekar (Ağırkaya), Sivar (Süvarköy), Qizîlkilîse (Kızılkilise), Ziyaret, Hiraşen, Qomik, Şeytanava, Birhan (Bürhan) and Yukarı Koçköprü were fired and burned by Turkish troops.[40][41] Villagers were tied to each other and killed by machine guns of a detachment under the command of Captain Derviş Bey.

According to the daily Cumhuriyet dated July 16, 1930, about 15,000 people was killed and Zilan River was filled with dead bodies as far as its mouth.

On July 15, 1930, İbrahim Tali (Öngören), the general inspector of the First Inspectorate-General, explained that annihilation was performed by troops with people’s help, more than thousand militias were lost, villagers who helped rebels were also annihilated.

The Foreign Office reported The conviction here is that the Turkish “success” near Ergish and Zilan were really gained over a few armed men and a large percentage of non-combatants.


According to Nazi Erol, the wife of Şükrü (Erol) who was the eldest son the chieftain of Bekiri tribe, her first child Salih was killed and all of her crony women are killed, she could survive that massacre owing to be hidden under their corpse.

According to Mehmet Pamak’s grandfather, thousands of people, men, women, children and aged and their massacre by machine-gun fire, blood flowed out of that valley for days. Pamak’s aunt (baby) and his 80-year-old great-grandmother were bayoneted to death.

According to Kakil Erdem who is one of the living eyewitnesses of the Zilan Massacre, thirty five relatives of him were killed, soldiers cut and opened abdomen of pregnant women. In front of his eyes, three relatives of him were scalped and two brothers of him were beaten with woods to death.

On August 31, 1930, the daily Milliyet published the declaration of the Turkish prime minister İsmet İnönü: Only the Turkish nation has the right to demand ethnic and racial rights in this country. Any other element does not have such a right. They are Eastern Turkish who were deceived by unfounded propaganda and eventually lost their way.

After massacre real estates at the Zilan canyon were given to collaborationist Kurdish militias, ones at the basin of the Zilan River were given to Cevher Efendi and his sons Süleyman and İdris, ones at the basin of Hacıderi river that is the tributary of the Zilan were given to Sidîqê Hesenkecelê. A observation post was constructed at the confluence of the Zilan and Hacıderi rivers and settlements were prohibited. In 1980 region was opened to settlement and refugees from Afghanistan were relocated to Hasanabdal.

Cultural Influences

Musa Anter, for the first time, learned about and discussed the massacres of the Kurds, such as the Zilan massacre of 1930, the Dersim Massacre in 1938 and the Thirty three bullets massacre when he published a journal entitled Dicle Kaynağı (Tigris Spring) with three other friends from Dicle Student Dormitory in 1948.

Yaşar Kemal, who is one of Turkey’s leading writers, got to know “Zilan Valley Massacre” during interviews in 1950s and was influenced by the massacre. He described massacres in his novel entitled Deniz Küstü (“The Sea-Crossed Fisherman”, 1978). The protagonist of the novel Selim Balıkçı participated in the Ararat campaigns, was wounded on the face and transferred to Cerrahpaşa Hospital (İstanbul) for treatment.

Zilan Massacre and Censorship

In 2007, Ercan Öksüz and Oktay Candemir who are journalist working for Dicle News Agency, interviewed 94-year-old living eyewitness Kakil Erdem and published it with the title of “Zilan Katliamı’nın Tanığı Konuştu” (Witness of Zilan Massacre Talks). The Van 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance tried for “inciting hatred and hostility”. In 2009, each of them received 1 year 6 months prison sentences.

Dersim Massacre

The Dersim Massacre

Photographs taken through a Turkish officer on the spot. Here its Kurdish prisoners to see (1938).


 In 1990 was published there a book in Turkey with a title, that the only party then in Turkey accused of genocide. According to the book, the party a genocide had exported in the Kurdish district of Dersim. The book became at the same time bans and it saw to not for the debate on which the writer and sociologist, Ismail hoped had. Was the first and for a long time the only that in all openness the Turkish official ideology and administration opposite the Kurds criticized. [1] He began in 1969 with its study of the social economic conditions of Turkish Koerdistan with a whole series of increasing polemic writings. He has a large price paid for its moral and intellectual courage; all its books its bans and he remained more than ten year in the prison for its books. The mass slaughters of the book of treated the pacificatie of the rebel scholar Kurdish district of Dersim (these becomes now Tunceli named) in 1937 and 1938. The events its one of the most black pages in history of the republic Turkey. On the book of the crtical sociologist was not reacted or been wrong reproduce to by most historians, as well foreign historians as Turkish. While the campaign against Dersim further went, saw to the Turkish authorities for it that little information to disposition came for the outside world. The diplomatic observanten in Ankara were of it conscious that it large military operations were, but she knew actual not what it precise at the hand was.

After the events spoke the British consul in Trebizond (Trabzon), the dichtstbijzijnde diplomatische mail of Dersim over brute violence by which no differences were made between men or women.,. Also he made an explicit comparison with the Armeense genocide in 1915. “Thousand Kurds,” wrote he, “below which women and children were slaughtered; others; mainly children, became in the Eufraat gegooid; while thousand in less hostile areas, firstly were stripped of their cattle and other possessions before they deported to vilayets (provinces) in Central Anatolië. It now is said that the Kurdish question no longer consists in Turkey.”

Photograph from Dersim 1938 of a Kurdish victim of oppression.

What is Dersim? Dersim is an inaccessible territory store of high with snow covered, narrow valleys and ravines in North Koerdistan (Southeast of Turkey). It was inhabited by a large number of small tribes, that a marginal existence had of mainly agriculture, animals watch over and the collecting of forest products. Their total numbers were around the 1930 around the 65,000 and 70,000. (Dersim was previously larger, but here become the numbers uses of the province Tunceli)

Dersim was a part of Koerdistan with someone else culture. This came partly through ecological and geographical factors (surrounded through Mountains) and partial through the language and religion. Some tribes spoke good Kurmanji, but the most the Kurdish Zaza dialects spoke. Also belonged they all till the heterodoxe alevitische sect, that them distinguished of the soennitische Kurds that lived in the rest of Koerdistan. (Below which as well Kurmanji talking Kurds were as Zaza talking Kurds.) Although there are also Alevi’s in Turkey, are the alevi’s in Dersim someone else group, with someone else believe and belief trade.

Dersim was in the middle of the years 1930 the last part of Koerdistan, that effective under the control by the central Turkish state had not been brought. The tribes of Dersim had never been yet under supervision through former governments. And the only law, that they was the traditional stammenwet recognized. Chieftains (Agha’s in the Kurdish) and religious leaders had a large authority over the usual people, that they exploited often economic. They were not meddled against a government, as long as this
government not surplus with their affairs.

Many chieftains, strengthened their position actual through strong relations with the police and the army in the region to have. There was a tradition of loads refusal, for there was little money to evaluate. The region was quite very poor. Young men avoided could the military service as they, but in 1935, a considerable part in the Turkish army served. There were conflicts between the tribes, that often the forms took of lengthy fat. Many of the stem members carried not assault descend were weapons, and on neighbor unusually.


Local military civil servants were enticed often also in the stem conflicts. Because some chieftains accused their enemies of the conspiring against the state. But on the same moment, there was a Kurdish nationalistic commotion under the tribes, that led became by the taught suns of the head families.

In 1936, Dersim was placed under military supervision, with the nationalistic expression to calm down, to get and to “to civilize” under supervision. The answer of the tribes on the so-called modernisatie brought by the state of roads, bridges and police post, was ambiguous.

The Kurdish tribe leader Seyyit Riza.

Some tribe leaders sought turned adaptation with the military authorities, others self against the intervention in their former autonomy. In the beginning of 1937 benedictions the authorities that a large rebellion would come. A token of uprising against the pacificatieprogramma, exhorted through nationalists. The central figure in the conspiracy was according to the Turkish state, Seyyit Riza. There was said that five tribes with this conspiracy to make had (Van the hundred tribes that there were.)

The military campaign against Dersim was begun after a relative small incident and the layman that the army waited on a direct reason the tribes to punish. On a day in March 1937 was a strategic wooden bridge burnt and were the telephone line cut through. According to the army, this was the beginning of the uprising, that she had expected. A Turkish source mentioned that there someone else incident was in Koerdistan and put co-ordination for through Kurdish nationalists.

Was the incident classroom but according to the official history of the military campaign. It is with difficulty violence within the tribes to distinguish of a rebellion against the city. A per-Turkish source said actual that the suspicions against Seyyit Riza had been based on the accusations of its local enemies. The first troops that were steered the suspected to arrest, were stopped through armed tribe members.

The confrontations escalated fast. When the tribes their leaders refused over to give, became there a large campaign begun. In the summer of 1937 found military operations place in the whole region. In September, gifts Seyyit Riza and are mostly strong comrades went extended over, but the next spring the operations through. According to sources were these operations extremely violent.

The little sources over the events have been written necessarily by partisans/resistance fighters. An important book was written by a local man, veteran and nationalistic activist Nuri Dersimi. This fighter was concerned was by the beginning of the uprising and had many family members lost. The book was published 14 years later in Syrian exile.

Hang of Seyit Riza (zazaki. org). Seyit had been tortured firstly, tortured, removed nails and hung after that at a car and half living meegesleurd by the city.

When the Turkish troops the hunt open descend on the rebel scholar, concealed liquids the men in the fight. De women and children itself in deep caves. Thousand of these women and children are disappeared, because the army closed the entrance of the caves. These caves were marked with numbers on the military files of the territory. By the entrances of other caves, the army want to fire to let suffocate at the men within in the caves. The defense lynxes women and children were trapped as a ratten. Those who tried were killed to escape from the caves with bayonets. A large part of the women and girls of the Kureyshan and Bakhtiyar descend threw to not to fall itself of the high kliffen in the Munzur and Parchick ravine thus in the hands from the Turks. Because of this they drowned in the Munzur. Taylan Ozgur wrote in the article “Child in Dersim” an affirmation of this: “There are thousand men in the Munzur drowned (The river Munzur).”

De Kirgan, a stem that self had handed over to the Turkish army and distance had done of the rebels became not with many grace treated:” Because the Kirgan the Turks trusted, remained they in their towns, while the rebels of Bakhtiyar self withdrew. If a result of this were destroyed they. Their leaders were tortured and shot. The tribe leaders were tortured and shot after that. Everybody that tried to escape or a shelter sought at the army were executed. The men were shot down at the same time. The women and children were locked up in haysheds, that stuck became in the fire.

When the winter could approached the army do not continue with the operations. They bids a truce at and a peaceful truce with the rebels. They promised that they the other tribes with rest let and compensations to give for the damage.

These promises were made round the rebel leader, Seyyit Riza the city Erzincan in to entice. Here Seyyit the governor knew. He was arrested, with fifty man. They at the same time were condemned and eleven by them below which Seyyit Riza at the same time were executed.

In the spring of 1938 went the military operations on a yet larger manner further. The Karabal, Ferhad and Pilvank descends, were destroyed total then they self surrenders. The women and children of these descend were lived burnt. Women and men.

The Pilvank and Abbas descends, had been remained had been set up and shot that always fidelity at the government in rows. The women and girls were collected and sprinkles burnt after that with kerosine and. Khech, the head town of the Sheykh Mehmedan descend that self already had delivered, became in the night attacked. All inhabitants of the town were killed by machine gun bullets and artillery fire.

The inhabitants of the Hozat city and the Karace descend, men, women and children were driven to a dichtstbijzijnde military camp outside Hozat and were shot with machine guns.

Ali Ser, Zarife leaders of the uprising in Dersim (1938).

Thousand women and children leapt in the Munzur river. The entire territory wash covers with gifgassen. Even young men of Dersim that their military service served in the Turkish army became of the army separated and shot. Someone else Kurdish nationalist from Dersim, Sait published in 1970 also more over the history of the Kurdish movement. In this were also what pages over the Dersim uprising. He used the book of Dersim, but oral sources joined also to. Over the campaign in 1938, he writes the following:

In the spring of 1938, the government, an amnesty offered on, at everybody that itself want to deliver. The Karabal, Ferhad, Pilvank, Sheykh Mehmedan and Karaca descends, reacted were destroyed that then complete. She murdered descend also most of the Kureyshan from the Mazgirt district, the Yusufan and the Bakhtiyar descend, by which she saved no women, old men or children. They were murdered in masses, in many affairs with a bayonet (soortement knife).

Against the end of the summer, the Hormekan, Kureyshan and Alan of the Nazimiye district and a part of the Bamasuran and Mazgirt were destroyed also by means of gifgas or bayonets. Their bodies were sprinkled with kerosine and burnt.

In such a way that it incredibly appears that the Kurds at the same time such brute violence were taken in Dersim, are these sources for the largest part affirmed through official documents. These documents were published in the official military history of the campaign. The simply a little became not mentions is the use of gifgas in the offensive of 1938 through Dersimi and Ivan. Passings grind there were described that there many women and children had been arrested, but in other parts became the murder described without difference on men and animal.,.

Genocide or etnocide?

Prisoner of the Turkish army during the Dersim uprising. (1938) Photographs taken through a Turkish officer on the spot and stolen through a Kurd.

The mass slaughters in Dersim were clear exported with brute violence, but it was no genocide, but an “etnocide”. It had not been directed namely round to row the whole or a part of the Kurdish people out. There is never away been wiped an administration round the Kurds of the face of the earth to. Only well their etniciteit to change. That they assimilated till Turks. Therefore “etnocide” is the administration better to name. Thus the destruction of the Kurdish ethnic identity. The intention the Kurdish culture to destroy can be gotten from the secret decision of the council of ministers over the punishment forwarding to Dersim on 4 May 1937. The decision contain an end decision opposite the rebellions and uprisings in Dersim.

The council orders has uses the army, those who self delivered have and that weapons uses have, or these once to kill. And hereby also their towns complete to destroy and to remove their families. Given fact, that each man in Dersim weapons carry, was this task actually a task in which were dedicated all men in the territory to kill.

It was not at the same time clear from the official sources that the Dersim campaigns had been directed against the Kurds, because it no references were made to the Kurds. Against this time there already was denied that there Kurds were. The military reports named the entire people of Dersim without difference bandits (haydut). The minister of domestic affairs found it however necessarily national council to inform that these men authentic Turks were.

The problem was natural that most men in Dersim not on the height were of their Turksheid. Many wanted not to communicate once the language Turkish and the authorities must with their via interpreters. Airplanes let leaflets fall in the “local language” De Dersim was a real Kurdish rebellion, but no nationalistic as that later on came. The layman on it that the rebellion more a reaction was on the intervention and concern of the government in the tribe affairs. Resistance against something the Turkish government saw as a “civilizing mission”.

The regime presented was begun this mission already before the rebellion. It was a dedicated fight according to the government against the neglect and oppression of the people through the feudal leaders, chieftains and religious leaders. An observator that narrow relations had with the government was enthousiastic after the Dersim campaign over the so-called positive effects:” De tribe leaders, religious leaders and their supporters had been caught taken and deported to the west. The successful military operations have for once and always the future of a bandits movement prevent in Tunceli. Dersim has been liberated now and reason. There its no places where the army is not, or where the military officers and commanders not their intelligence and energy in stick. Again the army a tremendous task has exported and earns the eternal grace of the Turkish nation.” In the practice was the floating power behind the governments action, below which those directed in Dersim not against the feudalisme or the achtergesteldheid, but against the Kurdish ethnic identity. The impudent Dersim campaign was one of the many measures, that were taken the Kurds forced to assimilate.

The Kurdish administration of the republic of Turkey

The republic that became opgeëist in 1923 thanks its existence at the independent war of Mustufa Kemal and its partners flatten after passings other nations the former Ottomaanse provinces claimed below which the Greeks, Armeniërs, French and Italians. A “National pact” definieerde the borders where for the independent movement fought: the former Ottomaanse land that were inhabited through not-Arabic Muslims (Turks and Kurds). These were the largest not-Arabic Muslims in the realm. The Kurds took fight part at these next to the Turks. And the leaders of the movement spoke sleepiness of a Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood and that the new state would consist of Turks and also Kurds.

In January 1923 put Mustufa Kemal still for that it perhaps a local autonomy came for the Kurdish areas.,. But this administration changed fast on a drastic manner. The fact that the new republic Turkey was named (a loan word of European scores) indicated though that some citizens more equal would become than others.

The new republican republic that zorgvol keep wanted their difficult obtained victory. Obsessed were disunion through threats against the territorial integrity and with imperial plots to sow. From this viewpoint, the Kurds as a large risk were seen. There was namely a weak a Kurdish independences movement that the encouragements gotten had by the Britons. The call round unity under the Muslims during the war round independence more effective under the Kurds than Kurdish nationalism and an own country. Just then Turkey set course disappeared to secularisatie this basis of unity. The kemalisten tried to replace the Islam as an united factor through an on Turkey based nationalism. Because they this provoked did a Kurdish nationalistic response they for which they fearfully were.

Some measures saw to yet more dissatisfaction under much wider circles than only the Kurdish nationalists. In the world war were talloze Kurds fled to the west the Russian army “easterly-Anatolië” (Anatolië, is the Turkish word for Small-Asia) then occupied. In 1919 decided the government the Kurds over the western provinces to spread in groups, that not more large were than 300 each, so that they no longer than 5% constituted of the local population.,. Some Kurds that back want to turn to Koerdistan became tegengehouden. In the new Turkey was also yet once all the modern education in it Turkish; moreover were the traditional Islamic schools (medreses) in which also in it Kurdish were taught closed in 1924. These two radical changes saw to for it that Kurds no entry had till the education.

Other secularisatie measures (the discontinuance of the kalifaat, the office of shaikh already-islam and the religious courts; all in 1924) saw to for many resistance in the traditional muslim circles. Kurdish nationalistic intellectuals and army officers took part at the troops of the dissatisfied religious leaders what led till the first large Kurdish uprising led through Sheik Said in 1925.

The rebellion was knocked down with a large military power. The leaders were picked up and hung and there were passing reprisals for the districts that had with done with the uprising. According to the official Kurdish nationalistic sources resulted this in the plundering of more than two hundred towns, the destruction of eight thousand houses and five ten thousand dead. Sheik of Said’s uprising saw to not only for a serious military threat for Turkey, but it sees to for a large change in the history of the republic. It saw to for a trend opposite the authoritarian government and it saw to for measures that on it directed were the Kurdish etniciteit to destructions.

At the same time became after the uitbraak of the uprising the relative liberal prime minister Fethi Okyar afgezet and replace through the grimme Ismet Inönü. Its position over the Kurds made he on the next manner public known, “We are openly nationalistic. Nationalism is it some what our samenhoud. Aside from the Turkish majority, an impact will have no of the other elements. We will for each praise those who our countries live verturksen and those destroy that in uprising come against Turks and the Turkendom.”

Passings other uprisings followed on which the largest that place found in 1928-1930 around the Ararat mountains. This was the nationalistic by all organized uprisings and were coordinated by the Kurdish political party in exile. In all these rebellions played tribes however a large role that actions undertaken under the head of theirs ‘s own agha’s (chieftains) and sometimes under the co-ordination of sheiks, religious leaders with a large authority.,. (From there the benadrukking in the Turkish pronunciations of the government over the necessity of the destruction of “feudalisme, tribalisme and religious reaction.) The government reacted with the executing of some sheiks and agha’s and other chieftains of theirs ‘s separated descend to move finished through them to other parts of the country. Some entire tribes (especially those who had participated in the Ararat descend) were deported and moves over entire westerly Turkey.

The first deportations were descend simply reprisals against rebel scholar. In the later years, deportations became to assimilate a part of the attempt the Kurds. The Turkificatie program announced had been based on Turkish nationalism. The Kurdish language, clothing. Folklore and even the word Kurd became bans. Researchers furnished the “proof” that the “descend of the east” purely Turkish were and that their language Turkish was, that a little bit corrupted were because they in the vicinity were of Iran. Therefore they were named “Bergturken”. There was no place for other concepts in the academic or public life. Someone else historical theory that was developed with the support of the Turkish government was that all large civilizations – Chinese, Indian, Muslim and even the antique Egyptian and Etruskische civilization of Turkish origin were. Turkificatie, even forced, was therefore by definition a civilizing trial. The genante ask, about which it necessarily was men to Turkficeren, that they as Turks considered were never stolen.

Massive hervestiging of populations was one of the measures, with which the authorities strengthen wanted the territorial integrity of the country, and the trial of the assimilation to accelerate. The Kurds were deported to the west of Turkey and dedicate spread, while Turks established became in their place. The most important document of the the Turkish administration’ the Law of Hervestiging of 1934, late see that the Turkificatie the primary target was of the hervestiging.

The law described three categories of hervestiginggebieden:

1. Districts “whose evacuatie is desirable for health cultural, political and safeties reasons and true establishment is bans,”
2. Districts, that have been intended for move move move and hervestiging of the population, of which assimilations till the Turkish culture wished is.”
3. Places of which an increase of the population has been wished with the Turkish culture. In other words, particular Kurdish districts became were clouded complete ontvolkt meanwhile in other Kurdish districts the Kurdish element by the establishment of Turks (and the possibility of deportations of local Kurds). The became deported hergevestigd in Turkish districts which they be assimilated could.

The intention the Kurdish community on to break is for a faster assimilation also to see in passing other passages in the Turkish constitution (That currently probably has been adapted). Article 11 goes for instance goes over not-Turkish peoples that their culture try to keep through with each other to remain in ethnic homogeneous towns or trade. The law said: “Those of which the native language not Turkish became not allowed round a group of new towns or communities, workers or trades organizations to begin. Yet will become allowed such persons to reserve an existing town, trade, enterprise or studio for men of the same swift.” This is clear more than alone a legalized form of discrimination; the law over hervestiging furnishes a legal frame for an administration of etnocide.

Against the background of this law, the pacificatie of Dersim in consideration must be taken. Dersim is one of the first regions where the laws were applied. Came there a year after the law of hervestiging in December 1935 a special law for Dersim. The district was changed in a separate province and placed under a military governor that extra exceptional powers had persons to deport and families. The minister of domestic affairs Kaya laid sharpen the necessity of these from with references of the achtergesteldheid and onderhandelbaarheid of the tribes. The district was in a state of wetteloosheid, causes through ignorance and poverty. The tribes regular all legal affairs, civilly as well as criminal affairs according to own “primitive” stammenwet with a total indifference to the state to.

The minister described the situation as an illness. According to him, the 11 earlier military campaigns had not seen to about it under the old regime for to cure the “illness”. A radical treatment was necessary emphasized the minister and he said that these sharpen part was of a reformations program (with civilizing methods) what this people as also would let participate at the blessings of the republic.

The metaphor of the minister for illness and treatment apparently had been borrowed from a report that ten years earlier for the same ministry were made. This document had been reproduced in the official history of the campaign as a guide for the military administration. The author Hamdi Bey named Dersim an “abscess that the republican government must operate further pain to prevent.” He was clearer than Kaya over the nature of the illness of Dersim: It was the growing Kurdish ethnic consciousness.

The treatment wanted to mail with the building of roads and bridges and police and governments buildings in each large city. The unrest that came from this oplegging of governments control saw to for the direct reason of the pacificatie campaign of 1937-38, that on the same moment were exported as the large deportations under the law of 1934. After the Dersim uprising wash crushes must other Kurdish regions that became “civilized” better knowledge then in uprising uprising revolt to come.

The Kemalistische enterprises was a grandioze attempt a new world to develop Mustufa Kemal and its allies had a new state created from the heaps of rubble of the Ottomaanse realm, the ill man of Europe. Through the prohibiting of the Arabic writing destroyed they all pin businesses at the past and were she court the history to rewrite on the manner of which they the good find. The Kemalisten had to make was a modern progressive united nation from a territory a little ever a patchwork of passing ethnic communities. Whatever the national unity would undermine or had been denied it now etniciteit or classes difference at the same time and suppresses on a brute manner. In the eyes of the Kemalisten, this was a trial of liberation and an affirmation of human dignity and equality.

“The people of Ankara, Diyarbakir, Trabzon and Macedonia,” maintained Mustufa Kemal, “be all children of the same race, jewels cut from the same waardevolle stone.” De reality appeared to be often less equal. Even on the day of today become with someone else aim for looked at a person with an identity card of which to see is that he or they born is in Tunceli (Dersim). They are treated distrust with and will find is dislike by civil servants and less fast work even as he proper geturkificeerd.

Someone else famous of said of Mustufa Kemal is, has been written that on passing official buildings and depict through the whole country is ambiguous: “How fortunately is those who itself a Turk can name!” – A little little good implies for those who this do not do. The minister of Justice Mahmut Esat was said less subtle then he the following: The Turkish minister of Justice, Mehmut Esat Bozkurt, says in August 1930: “There is more freedom in Turkey than where also in the world. This country is the native country of the Turks; are they that not of pure Turkish race, have straighten only one: serve or slave become.” [2]

This ambivalence (The at the same time or after each other be present of opposite landlords) or internal contradictie inherent in the Kemalistische position over the Kurds has more than a half century exist. The Kemalistische conception of Turksheid and the present government has not been based on the biological definition of race. Everybody (aside from perhaps the Christian minorities) is a Turk and many that Kurdish are have level a political career made after they a Turkish identity accepted. As well the former president Turgut Özal and the opposition leader Erdal Inönü its partial of Kurdish origin. Only there is also a feeling of Turkish raciale superiority that comes often to above. These opposite attitudes both have strengthens the oppression of the Kurdish identity.

The democracy of Turkey that began after the second world war sees to for a heropkomst of the Kurdish ethnic consciousness at the same time with a rise of left and right radicalism. Military coups in 1960, 1971 and 1980 tried the Kemalistische puurheid to repaired and saw to to force for new attempts the Kurds till assimilation.

The Turkish president Cemal Gursel, its speech of 10 November 1960 wanted not to stop in even the Kurdish “native country” to destructions.” As the Kurds, will destroy then we their native country, said” he on an imminent tone. (2)

Finally the old Dersim got to make with this new oppression. It was considered no longer longer than a source for ignorance and primitive stammendenken only as a hatch place for communism, while it remained still recognizably Kurdish. Years ago were made there also yet new plans to evacuate large parts of Tunceli and the inhabitants to hervestigen in the west, in the name of bebossing. The oppression was intensified after 1980 again and led in 1994 till an enormous peoples removal. A part of them has requested asylum within Europe, as also in Nederland.[3] De majority of the people of Dersim lives in the diaspora, or in westerly Turkey now or apart from that. There is little been left from Dersim’s distinctieve Kurdish culture and identity.

Mr. Massoud Barzani

Mr. Massoud Barzani

Massoud Barzani (born 16 August 1946) is the current President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party. Barzani was born in Mahabad, Iran, during the rule of the Republic of Mahabad. He has five sons (including Masrour) and three daughters.

Massoud Barzani succeeded his father, the former Kurdish nationalist leader Mustafa Barzani, as the leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in 1979. Working closely with his brother Idriss Barzani until Idriss’ death, Barzani and various other Kurdish groups fought Baghdad during the Iran-Iraq War. For much of this time, the Kurdish leadership was exiled to Iran.

After the invasion of Iraq in 2003 Barzani became a member of the Iraqi Governing Council and was the president of the council in April 2004. He was elected as the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan region by the Parliament of Iraqi Kurdistan in June 2005.

In his presidency Mr Barzani has established several institutions in the Kurdistan Region to develop its emerging democracy, strengthen alliances and improve the decision-making process. In January 2007 he established the Kurdistan Presidency Council, which includes the Deputy President (Mr Kosrat Rasul Ali), the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Kurdistan National Assembly, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and the Chief of Staff of the Presidency of the Kurdistan Region.

In February 2011, President Barzani received the Atlantic Award from the Italian Atlantic Committee and the Italian Delegation to NATO Parliamentary Assembly, for his role in promoting peace, stability, and religious tolerance in the region. During the same visit Pope Benedict XVI received President Barzani and paid tribute to the President for his role in providing refuge and assistance to the fleeing Christians. The Atlantic Award is annually conferred to prominent international figures for their role in promoting peace, stability and religious tolerance in their regions.

As President of the Kurdistan Region, Massoud Barzani has made official visits to several countries including: meeting with US President George W. Bush at the White House (25 October 2005), UK Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street (31 October 2005), The Pope at the Vatican (14 November 2005), Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi in Rome (13 November 2005), King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in Riyadh (13 March 2007) and King Abdullah of Jordan in Amman (19 March 2007).

In July 2009, in the first direct election for the presidency of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Massoud Barzani was reelected as president by a popular ballot, receiving 69.6% of the votes. The elections were closely monitored by international observers and the Iraqi Electoral Commission. They were declared “free and fair”.

Mam Jalal Talabani (Uncle Jalal)


Mam Jalal is a very happy person. He loves to hug and kiss everbody, and celebrate every occasion. We all love him.

Jalal Talabani is the sixth and current President of Iraq, a leading Kurdish politician. He is the first non-Arab president of Iraq, although Abdul Kareem Qasim was of partial Kurdish heritage.

Talabani is the founder and secretary general of one of the main Kurdish political parties, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). He was a prominent member of the Interim Iraq Governing Council, which was established following the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Talabani has been an advocate for Kurdish rights and democracy in Iraq for more than 50 years.

Talabani was born in 1933 in Talaban Village and descends from the Talabani tribe that has produced many leading social figures. He received his elementary and intermediate school education in Koya (Koysanjak) and his high school education in Erbil and Kirkuk. In the late 1950s Mustafa Barzani sent him to Syria to study law. He is fluent in Kurdish and Arabic and has working knowledge in Persian with Kurdish accent and English. In 1946, at the age of 13 he formed a secret Kurdish student association. His youngest son, Qubad, is the representative of the Kurdistan Regional Government in the United States.

Mr. Ocalan

Mr. Ocalan

Mr. Ocalan’s crimes are being born as a Kurd, and having never stopped believing in freedom, democracy, and equality for all people living in Turkey, the Middle East, and overall. He strongly defended his points and believed in them. That’s why he has been the only prisoner in Imrali Island, Turkey for over a decade. Not only is he the only prisoner in the island, he has been in solitary confinement most of the time. Psychological, physical, and mental torture in Turkish jails have been daily procedures for Kurdish political prisoners throughout history. Not even a single Kurdish politician, Kurdish supporter of anykind, or human rights activist have survived this humiliation, torture, and killing.

Abdullah Öcalan was born in Ömerli, a village in Halfeti, Şanlıurfa Province, in the Eastern part of Turkey. He is the oldest of seven children. After graduating from a vocational high school in Ankara (Turkish: Ankara Tapu-Kadastro Meslek Lisesi), Öcalan found employment at the Diyarbakir Title Deeds Office. He was relocated one month later to Bakırköy, Istanbul. Later, he entered Istanbul Law Faculty but transferred after the first year to Ankara University to study political science. His return to Ankara (normally impossible given his condition was facilitated by the state in order to divide a militant group, Dev-Genç. President Süleyman Demirel later regretted this decision, since the PKK was to become a much greater threat to the state than Dev-Genç.

In 1978, in the midst of the right- and left-wing conflicts which culminated in the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, Abdullah Öcalan founded the PKK, and launched a war against Turkey in order to set up an independent Kurdish state.

Abdullah Ocalan was the most wanted man in Turkey for almost two decades until his kidnapping and arrest in 1999. He has been in prison ever since. He is the founder of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK). From 1984, under his leadership, the PKK fought for an independent Kurdish state in the south east of Turkey. In a sustained popular uprising, tens of thousands of PKK guerrillas took on the second largest army in NATO.

Mr. Ocalan in his Defense

Every ideology and mode of belief can, if true, implement itself by using the resources of technology and above all those of the media without having to resort to violence. In other words, violence has become unnecessary. In fact things have got to the point where violence cannot be afforded. The rich variety of institutions and practices the democratic system offers is built on this social and scientific-technological development, and whatever problem it tackles, it offers a certain solution. It itself is the solution.

To go through the examples, the solution to religious wars is secularism. Here the standard and the implementation involve taking the approach that everyone is free to follow their religious beliefs and democratic criteria will apply to all of them. Democracy offers definite freedom of belief and this is the antidote to religious wars.

Again the same applies to the fields of thought and ideology. There is freedom of thought and conviction. It is allowed to work as one wants and implement one’s beliefs as long as one does not infringe the rights of others in this respect. This also applies to political ideas and their expression in the form of parties. As long as it adheres to the democratic system and its state structure, every party can offer a solution without resorting to violence. There is no question here of either imposing a religion by force or breaking and shattering the structure of the state. Religion, thought and the parties based on them know to meet the standards of the democratic system of the state because they are based on them. If they don’t know how to do this, then democracy gets the right to defend itself.

It is clear here that regardless of the social group they are based on (which might be a nation or an ethnic or religious group), beliefs, ideas and the parties through which they are expressed cannot, in the name of these beliefs and ideas, force the limits on which the state is based. There is no need for this, because it will render the problem they claim to be solving even worse. Consequently, there is no need for it, and, in any case, there are solutions within the system. These are the democratic rights of those groups. They are their freedoms of belief and thought. They are the parties. They are all types of coalitions. In the area of language and culture, the democratic solution is even more striking. This is the area where the greatest successes have been achieved. Because the intermingling of language and culture, these values that many national groups have assimilated together for centuries, do not want to separate and get weak and monotonous, but prefer to stay together to get enriched and achieve variety, strength and life. And the school and laboratory for this is democracy and its implementation with conviction.

Democracy is almost a garden of language and culture. The most developed and powerful principles of our day once again express this clearly. All European countries and North America are clear proofs of it. The attempt to suppress new religious, linguistic, cultural, intellectual and political developments during past centuries was the cause of all major wars, and resistance against suppression gave to wars which could be seen as understandable. Particularly in European countries this experience led to the development of a determined democracy in the wake of all these wars and led to the supremacy of the West. Western civilisation can, in this sense, be termed democratic civilisation. The democratic system is at least as important as scientific and technological superiority. Feeding off each other, they both became strong and achieved the status of world civilisation.

Mulla Mustafa Banzani

Mulla Mustafa Banzani


Mustafa Barzani’s name was synonymous with Kurds and Kurdistan.
He was the most prominent Kurdish National Leader.
He gained local and worldwide respect and fame.
Here is a snapshot of some of the events of his life

March 14: The late Mulla Mustapha Barzani was born in the village of Barzan.

Was detained with his mother in Mosul Prison.

Took part in Sheik Mahmoud’s uprising, commanding 300 men.

He visited Sheik Said Piran. Helped his brother, Sheik Ahmad Barzani establish contacts with other Kurdish Leaders.

Resisted Iraqi forces backed by British forces. Withdrew to Turkey.
Sheik Ahmad arrested by Turks and handed over to Iraqi authorities.
Returned to Mosul. Was arrested and banished to various towns.

Managed to escape and return to Barzan.

Helped Qazi Muhammad to defend the first Kurdish Republic in Mahabad.
Commanded an army of 3000 strong to defend The Republic of Mahabad.

Established the Kurdistan Democratic Party.
Was elected its first President.
He kept that position until he passed away.

After the collapse of the Republic, Barzani and 500 of his strong fighters fought fiercely the Iran, Turkey and Iraq armies, supported by the allies.

They were forced to withdraw but never give up,were forced to cross the tough Aras river and into the then Soviet Union. Stayed as a refugee until 1958.

October 6. Returned to Iraq after the 14th July revolution coup d’etat.
He was welcomed as a Kurdish hero by all Iraqis.

I remember I went to welcome him then. He had just finished his prayer. He told us, that we Kurds when we go abroad should stick to our roots, pick up the good things from new cultures and ignore the bad things.

11th September. Led the September revolution.

The Kurdish National movement under Barzani’s leadership, signed March 11 agreement, stipulating autonomy for Kurdish within Iraq which the government subsequently reneged. 1975 March, 6. The Kurdish Revolution halted due to Shah’s giving up his support for the Kurds in exchange for canceling the Saad Abad agreement.

The Shah reneged on his promise to the Americans not to abandon the Kurds. Thus the Shat-al-Arab waterway became an international waterway.

Because of failing health and his distrust of the shah of Iran he left Iran to the USA for Cancer  treatment. His visa was valid as long as he stayed silent.

Expressed his wish to return to Kurdistan.

March 1, late Thursday at Georgetown University, Washington, DC, General Barzani passed away.
His body was flown to Iran and was buried in Shuno, Kurdistan of Iran.

On the 15th anniversary, commemorating his death, his remains were moved to Barzan, his birth place. One million people participated in a mass memorial.


What others wrote thought or wrote about him:

Hasan Arfa, Chief of Staff of Iranian Army 1944-1946
“Mulla Mustafa owed his prestige and fame to his tireless warrior against alien authority.”

Abdul Nasser, President of Egypt.
“A leader who combines the old with the new. Dedicated to his people.”

Kemal Jumbulat,

A Druze leader, President of the Lebanese Socialist Party.
“A historical Leader rose from among a people yearning for freedom and rebelling against suppression and violations of rights.”

David Adams:
“International circumstances have made him along with his traits of persistence, courage and love of his people a hero to be reckoned with.”

Professor Abdul Aziz Said

, Director of Institute for Global Peace and professor of Conflict resolution at the American University, was impressed with Mulla Mustafa Barzani when he visited one of his classes in 1979. Barzani, in spite of his illness showed strength and stamina. He interacted with his students on international issues.

It was then that Professor Said thought of starting a center carrying Mustafa Barzani’s name the purpose of which is to carry on the struggle for Kurds and Kurdistan globally. In June 1999, Dr. Benjamin Ladner, President of American University in Washington, D.C. announced the establishment of Mustafa Barzani Center for Global Kurdish studies.

Under Mustafa Barzani’s name the center is organizing a 2-day conference on Kurdish Identity.

William Saffire:

One of America’s most influential political columnists shows in his book The First Dissident how modern heroes have reshaped authority and history and how individuals can, too by following the courageous example of these heroes. One of his heroes is Mulla Mustafa Barzani. In an interview on the reasons for the 1975 collapse of the Kurdish Revolution “But Barzani did not trust the Shah; he sought, and received, guarantees from the Americans that they would not leave him high and un supplied in the crunch. Sure enough The Shah made a separate deal with Iraq and cut off the hapless Kurds, but the Americans — in a betrayal that Henry Kissinger profoundly regrets to this day — did not hold the Shah to his promise. The Kurdish Rebellion was wiped out. Barzani, broken and ill with cancer, was allowed to come to the United States die.”

Mulla Mustafa Barzani’s memory will remain alive in the hearts of all the Kurds who support the aims he struggled for all his life.

He will remain a towering figure in the history of the Kurdish people.

He remains the inspiration and ideal for today’s Kurdish youth who are fired by the spirit, tenacity and resilience of the legend that never wavered in his commitment to the Kurdish struggle for Peace, Freedom and Democracy

Dr. Ghassemlous

Dr. Ghassemlous

On July 13, 1989 one of the most tragic events in Kurdish history took place in Vienna, Austria. On that day Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the General-Secretary of Kurdistan Democratic Party (Iran), Abdullah Ghaderi-Azar and Fadhil Rassoul who were negotiating with representatives from Islamic Republic of Iran were brutally murdered. This team had travelled to Austria to negotiate a peaceful solution and obtain political rights for the Kurdish people in Iran. Despite the indisputable evidence on that time; the Austrian government did not allow the police authority and the judicial system to conclude the investigation and the legal process. As a result this unprecedented crime which had taken place in the capital of a democratic European country was never resolved and the murderers remained unpunished to this day.

Twenty years following this unjust event; we are resolved that this murder case must be reinstated. The truth behind this murder case relying on the facts found previously and new facts which point to the participation of Iran in this horrible crime; should be brought to the light. An independent judicial review would pave the way and remedy this historical injustice which was committed to the Kurdish and Iranian freedom loving people. The course of events today proves that such an action would serve democracy in Iran as well as national security of European countries.

We hereby demand that the Austrian government grants the reinstatement of the case so the legal proceedings could carry out and bring this case, closed for many years, to a satisfactory and just conclusion.

We call upon all organisations and individuals who sympathise with the Kurdish issue and democracy in Iran or advocate peace, freedom and justice in the world to join us and sign this petition, demanding that the case of Dr. Ghassemlous assassination be reinstated.

Judge Qazi Muhammad

Judge Qazi Muhammad

Arguably the one of greatest Kurdish leaders of the 20th century, Qazi Muhammed  was the epitomy of the word “Kurdeyeti”. A local Judge (hence the name Qazi), who became the Persident of the Kurdish Republic of Mahabad in 1945-1946, this martyr chose to stand by his homeland when Iranian troops invaded the republic. Thus, Qazi Muhammed was treacherously hanged by the Shah of Iran. For the Iranians he was a rebel, but for Kurds  he was the hero and founder of modern Kurdish republic (Mahabad).

Qazi Muhammad (1893-1947) was the Nationalist and Religious Kurdish leader and the Head of Republic of Mahabad (Republic of Kurdistan), the second modern Kurdish state in the Middle East (after Republic of Ararat). He acted as the president of the Russian backed Republic of Mahabad, in Kurdistan of Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) in 1946. He was also the founder of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran. A year later, the Kurdish national movement (Komeley Jiyanewey Kurd) that he helped organize was crushed by Iran’s central government. The Iranian military court sentenced him to death, and he was hanged in Chuwarchira Square in the center of city of Mahabad at March 30 1947. Mustafa Barzani, the father of nationalist Kurdish movement in Iraqi Kurdistan (Southern Kurdistan), was the defence minister in his cabinet. One of his sons Ali Qazi is today an active member in the kurdish movement.

Seyid Riza

Seyid Riza

Seyid Rıza (also called as Seyit Rıza in Turkish; Sey Rıza or Pir Sey Rıza in Zazaki), was born in 1863 in Lirtik, a village in Dersim (is now officially called as Tunceli). His father’s name was Seyid Ibrahim from the Hesenan tribe.[citation needed]

He was a political leader of the Alevi Zazas, a religious figure and the leader of the Kurdish movement in Turkey during the 1937-1938 Dersim Rebellion.

In explaining the reason for the Kurdish rebellion to the British foreign secretary Anthony Eden he said the following:

The government has tried to assimilate the Kurdish people for years, oppressing them, banning publications in Kurdish, persecuting those who speak Kurdish, forcibly deporting people from fertile parts of Kurdistan for uncultivated areas of Anatolia where many have perished. The prisons are full of non-combatants, intellectuals are shot, hanged or exiled to remote places. Three million Kurds, demand to live in freedom and peace in their own country.

He was captured on 5 September 1937 and was hanged.