ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Google incorporation removed a map outlining the geographical extent of the Greater Kurdistan after the Turkish state asked it to do so, a simple inquiry on the Internet giant’s search engine from Wednesday on can show.
“Unavailable. This map is no longer available due to a violation of our Terms of Service and/or policies,” a note on the page that the map was previously on read. Google did not provide further details on how the Kurdistan map violated its rules.
The map in question, available for years, used to be on Google’s My Maps service, a feature of Google Maps that enables users to create custom maps for personal use or sharing through search.
Because the map was created and shared publicly by a user through their personal account, it remains unknown if their rights have been violated or if they will appeal.
A Turkish lawmaker from the ultra-nationalist, opposition IYI (Good) Party revealed last week that he put a written question to the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure, Cahit Turan, as to whether the Turkish government acted to make Google remove the Kurdistan map.
Turan answered in affirmative, saying authorities were in touch with Google.
The MP, Yavuz Agiralioglu, charged the map with “being at the service of terrorist organizations” in his question to the minister, referring to Kurdish armed groups fighting for different degrees of autonomy and recognition of cultural rights in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, modern nation-states Kurdistan was divided between a century ago.
He also claimed the map violated the Turkish borders, although it showed modern borders superimposed by a non-standard red line that defined Kurdistan as “a geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people have historically formed a prominent majority population.”
“The most dangerous Turk is the one looking at the map. We laid the Earth flat under our feet and only walked. We took our civilization, our justice, and our mercy to the countries we went. Let those who fancy dividing our country with fake maps look at our historical record,” the nationalist MP tweeted, in a veiled reference to the fate of the Armenian people which faced a genocide before the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
Currently, the search “Kurdistan” on Google brings up results for the Kurdistan Region and its constitutionally-defined borders within Iraq and the Kurdistan Province in Western Iran.
The use of the word “Kurdistan” is criminalized in Turkey, even at the parliament’s floors where lawmakers can be fined to pay up to several thousand Liras and be dismissed from at least two legislative sessions.
Maps drawn by ancient Greeks, Islamic historians, Ottomans, and Westerners showing Kurdistan with alternative names such as “Corduene” or “Karduchi” have existed since antiquity.
The use of the name “Kurdistan” was banned by the administration of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the immediate aftermath of the crushed Sheikh Said uprising for Kurdish statehood in 1925.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany