...the largest ethnic group without a country - they live in an area which crosses the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey. Kurdistan is the mountainous area of central and northern Zagros, Eastern Taurus and Pontus and North Amanus ranges. The relationship between the Kurds and their mountains is strong - the kurds home ends with the mountains. There are two Kurdish enclaves - central and north Anatolia, Turkey and Khurasan in northeast Iran
Breif History:- never a recognised nation
- break-up of the Ottoman empire did nothing to help creation of a state
- The treaty of Sevres in 1921 allowed for an independent Kurdish state, guaranteeing self determination
- The area was strategically important as the gateway between Europe, Central Asia and Middle East and the British and French had colonial ambitions here
- The area contained important resources (oil & natural gas)
Language and Religion:- The language is part of the Iranic branch of Indo-European languages and is related to European languages -> nearly 3/5ths of theKurds are sunni muslims, there are also Shiite and Sufi muslims as well as indigenous Kurdish faiths.
Despite their independent traditions, the Kurds were expected to conform to the ways of the majority - using the official languages of these states and to identify with those nationalities. The kurds were treated differently in the countries. The Iraqi kurds enjoyed an official autonomous status in a portion of nation's Kurdistan
In 1988, Hussein ordered a poison gas attack on Kurdistan and 5000 kurds were killed. The Kurdistan regional government split from Ba'athist Iraq in an uprising in 1991 and later enjoyed the protection of the Allied 'no-fly zone'. The Kurds were granted a 'safe heaven' after the first Gulf war.
Oppression by nationalist governemtns in not the only obstacle to Kurdish independence. The Kurds themselves are divided in their political objectives. Some aims are based on ancient tribal structures, some are Islamic and some left wing
In 2007, there were renewed hostilities between the PKK and Turkish army along the southern border with Iraq. There were casualties and the taking of prisoners, together with worrying signs that Turkey would invade Northern Iraq in an attempt to close down the PKK camps in the area. During 2008, further bombing roads by the Turkish air force attempted to destroy kurdish separatist bases in the Qandil mountains in northern Iraq. Turkey has accused Iraq of failing to stop the separatists from using the area as a safe heaven.
Most Kurdish group want equal rights and autonomy. Even the relatively extreme political group in Turkey, PKK, no longer claims indeependence, though it does want greater autonomy for Turkish Kurds (especially in the southeast) -> on the other hand, Militant Turkish Kurds stated in 2004 that they were ending their ceasefire