We are here republishing an article entitled “Kurdistan on the Sèvres Centenary: How a Distinct People Became the World’s Largest Stateless Nation” by Loqman Radpey of the University of Edinburgh Law School, published in 2021 in the Nationalities Papers journal collection. Abstract of the article is included here, and the full paper is available for download as a pdf below.


In August 1920, the political fate of the Kurdish nation, along with its territory, Kurdistan, were on the line, after the Allies asserted their interest in national rights to self-determination following World War I. Under the Treaty of Sèvres, Kurds were acknowledged as an ethno-political entity in the Wilsonian perspective, yet the ideal of self-determination failed to crystallize as a full legal right to independent nationhood. Thus, Kurdish statehood was annulled. In contrast, the drawing of states’ boundaries in Europe took place mostly along national lines. The result has been an untenable diversity across regions affected by the War in the varieties of self-determination, arguing that some peoples’ nationhood was credited with less legitimacy than others. The departure of imperial powers and subsequently the League of Nations from self-determination for achieving territorial independence came as a result of imperialist world policies to reorder political influence. With the adoption of self-determination as one of the purposes of the UN in 1945, and with the crystallization of self-determination as a legal right in 1966 and the subsequent campaign of decolonization, it could be argued the Kurds’ status was not repositioned and in some way is invisible to the law of selfdetermination, as applied.

Download the article as a pdf here: Kurdistan on the Sèvres Centenary: How a Distinct People Became the World’s Largest Stateless Nation