“The Kurds of the Ottoman Empire between cooperation and rebellion, a renewed history”

Kurdish memory preserves many records of different relations with the Ottoman Empire, which ranged from cooperation and reconciliation at times or rebellion and revolutions at other times, for many different reasons. For example, during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries AD, the relationship was almost consensual, in which cooperation prevailed between the two parties, with some impurities that disturbed such a consensual state. Perhaps the reason for this is due to the circumstances of that historical stage that were ravaging the region in general, which made the Kurdish lands a theater of the war operations for the Ottoman Empire against its Safavid counterpart.

Sharaf Khan Al-Badlisi, one of the contemporary historians of that period, mentions in his book “Al-Sharfnameh”: “The Kurdish emirates in the Ottoman era were self-governing. The left bank of the western Euphrates and all areas of the eastern bank of the river “Murad Su” (Turkish: Murat Nehri), one of the branches of the Euphrates, were under the rule of the Kurdish Emirates. The Kurds were offering obedience and gifts to the Sultan, and they were doing the works requested by the sultans in addition to providing reserve armies when they needed them”. There is no doubt that this was during the consensual phase of the Kurds with the Ottoman Empire.

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries witnessed important changes in the political, economic and social aspects due to the crises faced by the Ottoman Empire at home and abroad. This happened as a result of the setbacks in the long wars waged by the Ottoman Empire, which led to the sabotage of the administrative, economic, judicial and social system of the state. This resulted in internal problems, long wars erupted on the external fronts, and a state of economic stagnation that negatively affected the classes and peoples of the Ottoman Empire severely, including the Kurdish emirates and clans, which in turn moved from a state of reconciliation to a state of rebellion and revolutions due to the unfair policies pursued against them by the Ottoman authorities. Many Kurdish clan rebellions occurred against Astana. For example, but not limited to, the hard behaviors of the Ottoman government against the Kurdish clan “Al-Melli”. The Ottoman government ordered its forcible transfer from its areas in Diyarbakir to areas very far from its areas of influence and its original home, which is an evidence of the end of that consensual period. This Kurdish clan tried more than once to return to its original homeland, but it was subjected to force and strictness from the government, and its attempts were tragically lost. The state was not satisfied with this method only, but also used other methods that are more effective and painful by tearing the internal unity of the Kurdish emirates and clans by using the policy of divide and conquer. It is one of the effective policies used by the Ottoman Empire with the Kurdish Emirates to limit their ambitions and movements against the Ottoman authorities. The state continued to use this method with the Kurdish emirates and clans in later eras. Whoever looks at the contemporary reality will find that the methods are the same and have not changed, but the governments have changed and become in a modern, civil style, with dark images remaining in the far corners!