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The Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East and live in an area that is divided between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. This area is called Kurdistan. The Kurds have been and are exposed to various forms of oppression, and many Kurds are fighting for an independent Kurdistan. This has created conflict between Kurdish groups and the four states that control the Kurdish areas.
Kurdere on flukt fra Anfal campaign in northern Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Photo: Jan Sefti / Flickr
Kurds fleeing from Operation Anfal in northern Iraq during Saddam Hussein's rule. Photo:
At the end of the 1800s was controlled by the Middle East of the Ottoman Empire. The Ottoman Empire was a sultanate, where a Turkish clan struggled to modernize its empire. While growing nationalism around the multicultural empire. Islam and Muslim identity was the one that had helped to unite the Ottoman Empire under a single rule. With the emergence of nationalism, that is, the belief that every ethnic group (nation) would have their own state (a so-called nation-state), came second group identities than the Muslim to dominate the political landscape. There were many different ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire, and the strengthening of nationalism contributed to the fall of the empire. One of the ethnic groups demanding independence were Kurds, but to create an independent Kurdistan would prove to be difficult.
The total Kurdish population is probably between 28 and 40 million people and is the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Almost half of the Kurds living in Turkey, but there are also many who live in Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The conflict between the Kurds and the four states that control the Kurdish areas is about territory, security, justice and the Kurdish identity and rights. Many Kurds have been involved in fighting for independence since the First World War.
The settlement after World War I.
The Ottoman Empire was on the losing side after the First World War, which meant the empire's final event. The victors were therefore divide the lands of the Middle East among themselves. In the first sharing agreement, which was signed in Sèvres in 1920, were taken into Kurdish desire for an independent state. The agreement stated that the area where the Kurds were in the majority would become an independent state. At the same time Greece, France and Armenia share large parts of present-day Turkey between them. This led to a clash with Turkish nationalists, who wanted to create an independent Turkey without interference from Europe. They therefore refused to accept the new agreement.
The Turkish nationalists established a new Turkish government in Ankara and continued the fight against the European powers. In the beginning they were including in relation to the Kurds and signaled that an independent Turkey would have room for both the Turkish and Kurdish people. The Turks won the war against the Europeans and eventually managed to negotiate a new peace agreement that recognized the new Turkish state. In this new peace agreement from 1923, Lausanne Agreement, the Kurds are no longer entitled to their own state. Instead, much of the Kurdish region subject to what is now Turkey.
It Oransje feltet Markers et area hvor mange the lives Kurdere, og s ofte bare Kurdistan. Kilde: Globalization
The orange bar, select the area which is home to many Kurds, and is often called Kurdistan. Graphics: Globalization
The Kurds in Turkey
When the Turkish nationalists established the new state of Turkey in Ankara made the Kurds in eastern Turkey rebellion. In 1927 proclaimed the Kurds and even an independent state in eastern Turkey, called The Kurdish Republic of Ararat, but independence did not last long. Three years later became the Republic crushed by the Turkish army.
During the 1920s and 1930s effected Turkey a "turkifieringspolitik". Ethnic groups with a different language and / or cultural assimilation into the Turkish language and Turkish culture. Many Kurds were displaced to new areas. This led to new uprisings among the Kurds. The most famous of these is the rebellion in Dersim (1937-1938), where thousands of civilian Kurds were killed. The exact number of casualties is unknown, but is estimated to be between 13 000 and 70 000. Several hundred villages were burned and extensive forcible transfer of population was conducted.
The years that followed were met Kurds' struggle for an independent Kurdistan of stiff opposition from Turkey. The Kurds have been subjected to extensive political persecution and many Kurdish writers, journalists and human rights activists have been imprisoned and killed. The Kurdish language and culture have been banned.
Kurdish resistance in Turkey
Et member of the PKK in Kurdistan-Iraq. Photo: James Gordon / Wikimedia Commons
A member of the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan. Photo: James