Autonomy and Self-determination
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Autonomy and Self-determination

Between Legal Assertions and Utopian Aspirations

Edited by Peter Hilpold

Europe has reached a crisis point, with the call for self-determination and more autonomy stronger than it ever has been. In this book, renowned international lawyers give a detailed account of the present state of international law regarding self-determination and autonomy.
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Chapter 9: The Kurds between discrimination, autonomy and self-determination

Stefan Oeter


The neglect of the Kurdish question after 1918 had led to a long history of oppression and discrimination, with the issue of self-determination of the Kurdish people still remaining an open issue until today. The events of the last years in Iraq, Syria and Turkey have given new momentum to the Kurdish quest for self-determination. Three levels of self-determination discourse are revisited in the chapter – a radical understanding that leads to a quest for full statehood, a more moderate concept of ‘internal self-determination’ resulting in the search for viable constructs of regional autonomy inside existing states, and a minimalist version embodied in the international obligations concerning minority protection. Since even such minimalist obligations are far from being respected, the quest for more radical solutions will grow and will shape political events in the region.

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