The possible implementation of a federalist model and the Kurdish claims to self-determination : a comparative study of Iran and Turkey

Sharifi, Sirwa (2014-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2014.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Kurds, numbering somewhat 40 million, are the largest stateless nation worldwide. As smaller minorities, they are mainly spread in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey in the Middle East. The Kurdish claims for self-determination have been a century-long struggle, and at the moment only the Kurds in north-Iraq have achieved the establishment of the semi-autonomous territory of Kurdistan, and the Kurds in Syria have autonomous control over the Kurdish region. Iran and Turkey with their significant Kurdish communities have not been successful in addressing the Kurdish claims of selfdetermination in an efficient and structural manner. This thesis assessed the possibilities of a successful implementation of a federal model in Iran and Turkey in order to address the Kurdish claims for self-determination. The main finding of this thesis is that the current political atmosphere in each country is not ready to make the necessary accommodations, as the transition to a federal system requires, and consequently will not be successful in addressing the Kurdish claims of self-determination. In Iran, it is found that the union between religion and politics, and consequently, the controlled nature of the theocratic system, will not accommodate for a society along federalist principles in which rule is divided amongst groups in society. In Turkey, it is found that while the political rule in Turkey is different from that in Iran, it is however believed that not even a possible transition to a direct Presidential system will change the governments fears of separatism, or the constitutional constraints which further hinders a federal transition. As seen from the assessment of the case studies, a federal implementation is not foreseen in Iran and Turkey within the nearest future, and will subsequently fail in addressing the Kurdish claims of self-determination. A transition of this manner requires dedication and willingness, and this research presents recommendations for the road towards a federalist political arrangement and greater Kurdish self-determination in order to reach a peaceful solution to the century-long Kurdish issue.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Koerde wat 40 miljoen lede het is die grootste staatlose nasie in die wêreld. Hulle word hoofsaaklik in Iran, Irak, Sirië en Turkye in die Midde-Ooste aangetref. Die Koerde se aanspraak vir selfbeskikking is ‘n eeue-lange stryd: op die oomblik het slegs die Koerde in Noord-Irak die vestiging van die semi-outonome gebied van Kurdistan terwyl die Koerde in Sirië outonome beheer het oor die Koerdiese gebied. Beide Iran en Turkye het aansienlike Koerdiese gemeenskappe, maar was onsuksesvol om die Koerdiese se aanspraak op selfbeskikking aan te spreek. Hierdie tesis assesseer die moontlikheid vir die suksesvolle implimentering van ‘n federale model in Iran en Irak om die Koerdiese aanspraak vir selfbeskikking aan te spreek. Die hoof bevinding van hierdie tesis is dat die huidige politieke klimaat in elkeen van hierdie lande ongunstig is: hierdie lande is nie gereed om die oorgang tot ‘n federale sisteem te maak nie, en sal gevolglik onsuksesvol wees in die aanspreek van Koerdiese aanspraak op selfbeskikking. In Iran is daar geen onderskeid tussen godsdiens en politiek nie: die streng beheerde teokratiese sisteem sal nie die ontwikkeling van ‘n samelewing langs federale beginsels toelaat waar mag tussen verskillende groepe in die samelewing verdeel is nie. In Turkye waar die politieke sisteem verskil van dié van Iran, sal ‘n moontlike oorgang na ‘n Presidensiële sisteem nie die vrese van separatisme verander of die grondwetlike beperkings verander wat ‘n federale oorgang verhinder nie. Soos uit die gevallestudies blyk kan ‘n federale sisteem nie in die nabye toekoms in Turkye en Iran voorsien word nie en sal hierdie lande gevolglik misluk in die aanspreek van die Koerdiese aanspraak op selfbeskikking. ‘n Politieke oorgang van hierdie soort benodig toewyding en bereidwilligheid, en hierdie navorsing stel aanbevelings voor vir die pad na ‘n federale politiese ooreenkoms en groter Koerdiese selfbeskikking. Dit is nodig indien ‘n vreedsame oplossing vir die eeuelange Koerdiese kwessie gevind moet word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96122
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