Foreign policy and Kurdish-Assyrian relations_p.1


Krzysztof Lalik

The Impact of foreign policy on Kurdish-Assyrian relations. The case of Bedr Chan’s massacre and Turkish involvement


Foreign policy and colonial policy in postcolonial studies is frequently associated with western colonial superpowers like Great Britain, France, Germany or Italy and their involvement in the Middle and Far East, especially in 19th and 20th centuries. However, from the perspective of indigenous peoples the policy of regional superpowers like Ottoman Empire or Persia can also be perceived as a kind of foreign policy or colonial power since this policy repeatedly controlled rules of life of these local societies without their consent and even explicitly against their traditional rules and powers. A good example of such dependence is Ottoman policy towards Kurdish and Assyrian tribes in 19th and beginning of 20th century.


On the tide of Tanzimat reforms Ottoman government took up practical measures to enhance centralisation of eastern provinces. This could have been achieved only at the expense of the power local tribal leaders. İnce Beiraktar Mehmet Pasha, the governor of Mosul and main executor of the centralisation project, attained that goal by cunning policy of setting independent Kurdish and Assyrians at variance. The scheme was to support one Kurdish chief against another and against Assyrian independent tribes in order to finally suppress the ultimate winner by Turkish troops. And this was exactly what happened with Bedr Khan uprising in 1843, which at first had brutally subdued Assyrian Hakkari tribes only to be finally defeated by Mehmet Pasha army.