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Oeter, S (2020). Kurds Between Quests for Statehood, Struggle for Autonomy and Denied Minority Rights. German Yearbook of International Law, 63(1), 339-366. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.339
Oeter, Stefan (2020). "Kurds Between Quests for Statehood, Struggle for Autonomy and Denied Minority Rights" German Yearbook of International Law, vol. 63no. 1, 2020 pp. 339-366. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.339
Oeter, S (2020). Kurds Between Quests for Statehood, Struggle for Autonomy and Denied Minority Rights. German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 63 (Issue 1), pp 339-366. https://doi.org/10.3790/gyil.63.1.339

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Kurds Between Quests for Statehood, Struggle for Autonomy and Denied Minority Rights

Oeter, Stefan

German Yearbook of International Law, Vol. 63 (2020), Iss. 1 : pp. 339–366

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Prof. Dr. Stefan Oeter, Chair of Public Law and Public International Law, Faculty of Law, University of Hamburg.

Abstract

The Kurdish question is a heritage of the post-WW1 peacemaking – an unfortunate legacy that has cast a long shadow for a century. The dreams of the Kurdish national movement that had developed in the late phase of the Ottoman Empire to gain its own Kurdish nation-State were disappointed after 1919, instead the Kurdish territories were incorporated into the newly founded States of Turkey, Iraq and Syria. None of these new States was ready to accept political rights for a Kurdish community as a separate people on their territory – just to the contrary, the new Turkish Republic was decided to assimilate Kurds in their ‘great’ Turkish nation, and also the soon forming new States of Iraq and Syria repressed any sign of Kurdish separatism and insistence on Kurdish traditions and a distinct ethnicity. A new situation developed in the aftermath of the US interventions since 1991. The events following these interventions were the starting point for the de facto autonomy that developed in Kurdish Northern Iraq throughout the 1990s. Hopes for an autonomy arrangement for the mainly Kurdish territories in the eastern parts of Turkey were to arise some years later. After 2011, a new opportunity for (factual) Kurdish self-government opened up in Syria as a side effect of the civil war in that State. The paper looks look into the normative benchmarks on how to deal with the Kurdish question. In a first part, the essay will reconstruct the major legal reference points concerning self-determination of the Kurdish people. In a second step, the text will turn to autonomy arrangements as a middle-ground solution for the need for structures of ‘internal self-determination’. In a third step, as a concession to ‘realpolitik’, the minimalist options in the context of minority protection will be mapped, in their potentials, but also in their pitfalls.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Stefan Oeter\nKurds Between Quests for Statehood, Struggle for Autonomy and Denied Minority Rights 339
I. Introduction 340
II. Self-Determination of Kurds 344
III. Internal Self-Determination: Autonomies 339
IV. Minority Protection 339
V. Conclusion 340