By Stavros T. Stavridis

During December 1941, the British Government notified the Australian Prime Minister of Turkey’s concern in the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. Turkey remained neutral during the course of the Second World War.

Britain would have viewed with trepidation an independent Kurdistan imperiling its strategic and economic interests in the Middle East, at a time when Nazi Germany had designs on the oil fields in the Caucasus.
Germany was involved in a brutal conflict with the Soviet Union in the Crimea, where Russian resistance and eventual victory at Stalingrad would eventually lead to Hitler’s undoing.

The Germans could easily employ their propaganda to stir up the Kurdish tribes against the British in the Middle East. It was important from a British standpoint to keep the Kurdish tribes pacified. One should not forget that the Rashid Ali revolt of May 1941 was supported by Germany when British Commonwealth forces were fighting the Germans in Crete.

As an afterthought, the Turkish, Syrian and Iranian Governments would not entertain the creation of an independent Kurdistan at their expense in November 2005. They would be sympathetic to an autonomous Kurdish administration within the proposed Iraqi Federation.

Source National Archives of Australia, Canberra , Series A981 Tur 13 Part 2 Turkey- Internal General 11 1938-1942

ST Stavridis, Historian/Researcher, National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia

About the Author

Stavros Terry Stavridis was born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949 of Greek parents. He migrated to Australia with his parents in September 1952. Stavros has a Bachelor of Arts (B.A) in Political Science/Economic History and B.A (Hons) in European History from Deakin University and M.A in Greek/Australian History from RMIT University. His MA thesis is titled "The Greek-Turkish War 1919-23: an Australian Press Perspective."

Stavros has nearly 20 years of teaching experience, lecturing at University and TAFE (Technical and Further Education, the equivalent of Community College in the US) levels. He has presented papers at international conferences in Australia and USA and has also given public lectures both in Australia and on the West Coast of the US. Many of his articles have appeared in the Greek-American press. He currently works as a historical researcher at the National Center for Hellenic Studies and Research, Latrobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.

Stavros' research interests are the Asia Minor campaign and disaster, Middle Eastern history, the Assyrian and Armenian genocides, Greece in the Balkan Wars 1912-13 and the First World War and history in general.

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