Britain's Policy Toward Kurdistan at the End of the First World War

İhsan Şerif Kaymaz
Content Type
Journal Article
Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations
Issue Number
Publication Date
Summer-Fall 2011
Center for International Conflict Resolution at Yalova University
In the aftermath of the First World War, Britain aimed to create an autonomous Kurdish state – or states – in northern Mesopotamia to be governed under its protection. It therefore experimented with various different methods between the years 1918 and 1920. All those attempts were proven futile. Using mainly the British and Ottoman archival material it has been inquired how the British authorities had developed the plan for Kurdistan, how they tried to implement it in the northern Iraq (then the Mosul vilayet) and the southeastern Anatolia respectively, and how they failed. The reasons for Britain's failure had been discussed. After the failure new policy options had been given consideration among which, the debates on retreat came into prominence. The diplomatic negotiation process between the allies and the legal arrangements on Kurdistan that took pace in the Treaty of Sevres was of a nature of keeping up appearances. Kurdistan plan, though failed in 1920's, gained ground in the following years as the international conditions became more convenient. As the Kurdish problem has once again become an issue of worldwide concern, it will be interesting to see how the British government dealt with this complicated problem when it first emerged, some ninety years ago.
Political Geography
Britain, Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan