Kurdistan National Congress

   The Kurdistan National Congress (in Kurdish Kongra Netewiya Kurdistan [KNK]) was formally established in May 1999 in an attempt to create an organization more representative of all the Kurds than had been the Kurdistan Parliament in Exile, which dissolved itself into the KNC. The aged Kurdish scholar Ismet Cheriff Vanly was chosen as its first president, while an executive council of several others was also named. Brussels (Rue Jean Stas 41, 1060 Brussels) serves as its headquarters. This is the same address as KON-KURD.
   A recent convention of the KNK describes the organization as "forming a higher body of the Kurdish people to protect the interests and unity of the nation of Kurdistan," which was called "an international colony in the Middle East" suffering under "the repressive colonialism of the states of Turkey, Iran and Syria." The new situations in Iraq, however, "present an opportunity to reclaim rights." "Assyrian-Syriac-Chaldean, Armenian, Jewish, Arab, Turkmen (Turkomans), Azeri, Turkish and Persian minorities also exist in Kurdistan. These minorities are constituent parts of the nation of Kurdistan." The KNK "consists of representatives of political parties, social, cultural and religious establishments of Kurdistan and independent individuals, as long as they all approve the declaration" stated in the convention being cited.
   The Kurds possess the right to self-determination, which "could be autonomy, federalism, confederalism or even independence." As for armed struggle, the KNK Convention declares: "The Kurdish nation asserts its right to implement all forms of defense . . . [but] rejects the use of terror . . . and abides by all international human rights declarations." "The Congress [KNC] regards all kinds of cooperation with any occupying countries of Kurdistan against the national liberation movement as an act of treason . . . [and] condemns any conflict among the parties and organizations of Kurdistan." Furthermore, the KNC supports full rights for women and rejects polygamy.
   The KNC consists of several organs. The General Assembly has 150 members, including the 15 members of the Executive Board or Council. As of the summer of 2009, Tahir Kemalizade served as the leader (serok) of the Executive Council, while other members included Adem Uzun, Gelavej Qadiri, Nezif Mayi, Nilufer Koc, Rojan Hazim, Remzi Kartal, Felemez Basboga, Semsettin Aktas, George
   Aryo, Nizamettin Toguc, Seyf Bedirxan, Hewi Berwari, Miryem Muezzini, and Medeni Ferho. Other bodies include committees on foreign relations; language, education, culture, and art; women; national action; interior laws; and press and publication.
   Like its immediate predecessor the Kurdistan Parliament in Exile, the KNC suffered from an inability to attract a full range of Kurdish participation and an image of being in part an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Indeed, Yasar Kaya, the president of the previous Kurdistan Parliament in Exile, apparently opposed the dissolution of that earlier organization and distanced himself from the new KNC.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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