On its centenary, Kurdish march in Switzerland protesting the Treaty of Lausanne

On its centenary, Kurdish march in Switzerland protesting the Treaty of Lausanne

Shafaq News / Thousands of Kurds staged a major demonstration in Switzerland on Sunday, coinciding with the centenary of the Treaty of Lausanne, under which Turkey's border was demarcated.

According to the AFP News Agency, the demonstration was attended by about six thousand people in the city of Lausanne, where this treaty was concluded, to denounce its repercussions on the Kurds.

On the anniversary of the treaty, members of the Kurdish community gather in hundreds for demonstrations, but this time, the turnout was much bigger than usual.

The demonstrators set off from the vicinity of the Chateau Doshi hotel on the shores of Lake Liman, which hosted the talks that led to the treaty.

They marched waving flags bearing the portraits of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan, imprisoned since 1999, to the Rumen Palace in the city center where the treaty was signed.

"We want to exploit this centenary to show the world that the Kurdish issue is still unresolved," Hayrettin Oztekin, a member of the Kurdistan Cultural Center, told the Swiss News Agency, condemning "the repercussions of the Lausanne Treaty and its tragic consequences from which the Kurds are still suffering."

According to the Kurdistan Cultural Center, the treaty "approved the distribution of the Kurdish people into four countries, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, which are largely democratically failing."

In Turkey, the major powers abandoned the Kurds "to a nationalist and racist Turkish state, which led to a century of massacres, forced displacements, and policies of repression and assimilation," according to the Kurdistan Cultural Center.

According to Perevan Firat, spokesman for the Kurdish Democratic Council in France, "The Kurdish people, like all peoples of the world, demand the right to live in their identity on their land."

He told AFP that "this treaty paved the way to all harassment and massacres against the Kurdish people."

"Our detractors are the worst dictators in the Middle East and it is past time to decriminalize the Kurdish movement and, most importantly, to revise the Treaty of Lausanne, which is meaningless to us. It is null and void."

The Lausanne Conference was held in November 1922 to renegotiate the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres between the Allies of WWII and the Ottoman Empire, which was rejected by Turkish independence leader Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who later became the founder of modern Turkey.

British diplomacy coordinated the conference, which included Britain, France, Italy, and Turkey.

Among the repercussions of the treaty was a forced population exchange between Turkey and Greece. East Anatolia was annexed to present-day Turkey in exchange for the Turks giving up claims to areas in Iraq and Syria that were within the territory of the Ottoman Empire.

In the process, Armenians and Kurds were left on the sidelines and their ambitions to create an entity for themselves were unheeded.

"We know that no country can help us make the right decision to solve the Kurdish dilemma," Denmark-based Cardo Lucas Larsen told AFP, adding, "A demonstration like this brings together the Kurdish people and gives us a sense of belonging to a homeland."

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