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31 July 2015


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William R. Cumming

First, disclosure! I am pro-the -Turkish Nation-State and formal US ally through NATO! Many complicated reasons but as background read Paul Kennedy's work on the key 21st Century nation-states, which also include China and India.

Second, apparently no first principles guide US FP including adhering to the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution as the Pole Star.

Third, US FP is undermining the nation-state system.

Both the Kurds and the Ukraine made a play for nation-state status AT THE PARIS PEACE CONFERENCE after the WWI Armistice. The Great Powers were unanimous in turning down this bids.

After much thought I believe border control policies and immigration policies are key to preservation of nation-states and that an international order based on the nation-state system can only be maintained of all nation-states agree on that conclusion. As Tyler aptly stated areas with a song and a flag are NOT Nation-states however else defined.

And guess what neither the KURDs nor any portion of the Ukraine is capable of self-governance but prefer pot-stirring instead of the very very hard work of governance.

And the Turkish government has largely decided on remaining an intact nation-state.


Patrick Bahzad


I agree on principle with your statement regarding the importance of preserving the Nation State and establishing a difference between nations (whether they have a State or not) and countries which are by no means a nation, let alone a nation-State.

For the record though, let me state that the "Paris Peace Conference" is just the generic term for the various peace treaties that were negotiated as a result of WWI, with one specific treaty being signed with each losing belligerent ("Versailles Treaty" for Germany, "Saint-Germain-en-Laye" for Austria, "Trianon" for Hungary, "Neuilly" for Bulgaria and finally "Sèvres" for Turkey).

Babak Makkinejad

Turkey, in the sense of European states West of the Diocletian Line, is a multi-national state but it is legally defined as a state of a single nation - the Turkish Nation. That was so because like every other non-Western state, the Turks modeled themselves on the Western European models. The constitutional structures of Turkey do not fit its reality; in my opinion.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you Patrick Bahzad for articulating very well that Kurds neither deserve nor can form a state of their own.

One only needs to read Anabasis to see this 2500-year old pattern and its persistence to this day.

One quibble: "Peesh Marge" - just means: "Death Facing".

Babak Makkinejad

I think France went through a long process of assimilating non-French during the 19-the century; millions did not speak standard French.

Italy still has all those Tyrolean Germans and Sicilians...

And Germany had the Swabians...

Patrick Bahzad

You're right about the translation of "Peshmerga" ... Guess I let myself be contaminated by the pro-Kurdish spin-doctoring that has been going on.
My Persian is not as good as it used to be. So I stand corrected: "Peshmerga" from "pis az merga", meaning "facing death" as you rightly said.
In a derivative sense however, they mean to say that these are fighters who supposedly will fight to the death, thus indirectly "looking death in the eye". But it's a bit of a stretch I agree.
I will edit that part of the text, just to put the record straight. Thx for pointing out this mistake.



Do you agree with Babak's following assessment?
"Kurds neither deserve nor can form a state of their own."


The education from reading SST goes on and thank you, Patrick.

Reading this, the thought that came to me regarding the Kurds was from the famous American cartoon. 'We have met the enemy and he is us!'


M. Bahzad,

About the Suruc bombing: Do you personally have any doubts about the story?
I don't want to believe in government conspiracies but the bombing was a very convenient excuse for the Erdogan government to spring into action against ISIS and the Kurds, well, actually the Kurds mainly because the Turks are just too cosy with ISIS.

William R. Cumming

Thanks PB!

William R. Cumming

Which multi-national organizations support the nation-state system and which undermine it, in whole or in part?

And which Treaties support the nation-state system and which undermine it?

 Ishmael Zechariah

Patrick Bahzad,

Thanks for this comprehensive description. Most of it fits w/ my experience on the ground. A few minor points:
1-The Grey Wolves started as the youth arm of the Nationalist Action Party and evolved into the street enforcement organization of this party. They were and are distinct from the JITEM Special Operation Groups ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C4%B0TEM ) which fought the PKK using PKKs own tactics. The Ccommander of JITEM was an ethnic Kurd...

2-Grey Wolves were mostly engaged in armed urban action against left wing partisans 50s-to 90s. At the time the left wing also included the Kurdish nationalists. I never heard of Grey Wolves raping anyone per policy.

3-Seperatist "Kurds" in Turkey can only get 5-6% of the vote. In the last election they were loaned votes by the CHP so that they could exceed the 10% limit. Quoting population numbers which include those who are ethnically Kurdish but want no part of the PKK might not be helpful.

Reading the posts in this little bastion of sanity, I wonder if many of the SST committee members truly appreciate the size and coverage of the drug, extortion and prostitution rings controlled by the PKK, or what the Kurdish Mafia entails. I also do not think they really understand what we mean by terrorism; it is not driving bombs into barracks or attacking enlistment centers. In the beginning the actions undertaken by PKK were mostly against the "state": elementary schools-they killed the teachers, ostensibly to stop the subversion of the Kurdish children; health clinics-they killed the nurses, the midwives, fresh MDs sent on national service to Kurdish regions to improve health; road works-they killed the engineers and burnt the machines which were being used to improve roads. They slaughtered entire villages, men women and children. The PKK reality is quite different than the delusional spin peddled today.

The poverty of the east/southeast of Turkey has historical roots and can be traced to the Ottomans. Entire Anatolia was taxed for the comfort of Istanbul. These areas have consistently received more in services than the taxes they paid out. Even today the "Kurdish" regions pride themselves in not paying their utility bills. The tayyip regime had to tack on a surcharge on those areas which do pay to cover the losses of the (privatized) utility companies.

I regard the Kurdish gambit in the Middle East as part of the great game. The Kurds may rue their choices if the wheels do not turn their way.

Ishmael Zechariah


Swiss German is only in name German as i don't understand it. In fact the whole Kurdish history sounds German to me (not really one language, different religions, countless internal wars)

Babak Makkinejad

"The PKK reality is quite different than the delusional spin peddled today. ".

I have seen this story before.

What you do is that you take a few comely young women and dress them in military fatigues and issue them Kalashnikov rifles. Next you show case them to gullible Americans and Europeans - who, in their perennial search for the legendary Amazons - will bite on this hook, line and slinkier - "Alas! At last we have found a group of Muslims who have gotten their hyper-male ethos under control and are well on their way to a Anglo-Saxon Feminist Utopia."

Next you start getting aide from them.

That is what happened in Eretria which has become an open-air prison for its inhabitants.

I expect nothing less in this case.

Patrick Bahzad

The written form of Swiss german however is standard german. Any German could read the "neue zuercher zeitung" without any trouble whatsoever. Just one difference to point out your comparison doesn't add up.

Furthermore german regions have a history and a sense of a national feeling and destiny going back hundreds of years, even though there wasn't a German state. There never has been anything comparable for the Kurds. Which historical figure of international stature did boast about his Kurdishness ? Not even Salahadin did ... I could name a dozen of historic German figures out of the top of my head, same for state entities that could be seen as proto-German states. Nothing comparable with Kurds either.
Basically the point you're making could be valid for a number of European nations. Doesn't mean Kurds qualify as a nation too.

Patrick Bahzad

Personally I have no doubts about what happened but I wasn't there and I'm not privy to any of the investigation results. The sheer notion of a conspiracy however is so suspicious to me that I don't believe in it.

Patrick Bahzad

I don't think it is about deserving something or not. It's just that the long term history and trends in Kurdish culture have not been favorable to the establishment of a nation state. They failed so far and I'm afraid they will again in the future. What I think about it being deserved or not isn't relevant, but again I don't think that is the issue.

Patrick Bahzad


Agree with all the factual points you made. Thing is with a piece as short as this one, you have to summarize some pieces of info and can't get to the level of detail you might want to. Thx for the added value of your comments to which I subscribe. The JITEM, Grey Wolves, Turkish deep state and Ergenekon affair are a case in its own right. I might report more about it at some point. Your input would be welcome.

Patrick Bahzad

Only difference being that Eritrea is 50 % Christian

Ishmael Zechariah

Typo alert: "50s-to 90s" in point 2 should be "60s to 90s". Sorry.
Ishmael Zechariah


Thanks again, PB, for more of the depth that makes this site so great.

My only quibble would be the implication (under the "Problem of Kurdish Identity") that the Kurds lack aspects of common identity which (US) Americans have. The US is NOT a "nation" in the tribal sense at all, despite the efforts of some to pretend that (Anglophonic) "White Christians" constitute a Nation, and the only "Real" Americans.

I regularly hear three languages spoken in the factory where I work; it used to be four, but most of the old Rhode Italians have retired. There are people here whose names, skin-tone, and facial structure bespeak heritage from every continent on this planet but Antarctica, and religious backgrounds to match. (BTW, by federal regulation, we can only hire US Citizens)

The only factor of shared identity you mention the Kurds lacking which we have (sorta) is an Alphabet! (...I'm amused by this, but still, I do appreciate the data-point, and it DOES bolster your point about the fractures within "Kurdish" identity).

Frankly, I've been rooting for the Kurds, especially recently against IS. My historical respect for Turkey has been severely strained by their treatment of the Kurds, and worse, by their barely covert support for IS.

My hypothesis is that Erdogan has been bought by the KSA - perhaps personally, but more likely (based on how things work here in USA) by monetary support for his political party. But this doesn't even qualify as a Theory, becuase I don't have any evidence.

Can't wait for Part 2!

Ishmael Zechariah

Thanks. Always happy to help.
Ishmael Zechariah

Patrick Bahzad

Well I'll try not to disappoint with part 2 then !

Regarding your point about kurdish identity, I didn't say there wasn't one, I merely stated the obvious which is that Kurdish identity cannot be compared to the national identity of nations such as the UK, US and France. Tribalism and ethnics have nothing to do with this as nations are not merely cultural but also political constructs, whether they have a State or not. The Kurds have neither. It's not a criticism, it's a fact.
I try not to let my personal sympathies cloud my judgement, especially not based on events going back a few months or years. I'm merely trying to describe what I observe. What you read is the result of this analysis.

Babak Makkinejad

One of the fundamental differences that has obtained for centuries between areas West of the Diocletian Line and areas outside of it has been this:

Self-governing cities - in Spain, in Italy, in Gaul, in Germania etc.

Nothing like that has existed, to my knowledge, in the Middle East - the famous proverb "The air of city makes you free." has no counterpart in the Near East - as far as I know.



The US in still in the process of assimilating non-Americans with much resistance from both Americans and non-Americans.

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