Kurdish conflict | Kurdish Map, Flag | what is Kurdish

Kurdish Problem

Kurds are indigenous people belonging to the Mesopotamian plains. The problem of Kurds goes back to the period of the First World War. After the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War, many Kurds wanted a separate state called Kurdistan. The idea was to unify all Kurds spread in the Middle East.

what is Kurdish

Kurds or Kurdish people are an Iranian ethnic group native to a mountainous region of Western Asia known as Kurdistan, which spans southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, and northern Syria.

Kurdish map

The Treaty of Sèvres

The Treaty of Sèvres in 1920 also advocated a new Kurdish state to be established. As the Ottoman Empire disintegrated after the First World War, the Treaty of Lausanne demarcated the boundary of Turkey and created Turkey as a modern state without the mention of Kurdistan. However, the Kurds, since then, have been fighting for an independent state. 

The Kurdish people have no common dialect but belong to a common race and culture and a majority of them are Sunni Muslims. In the years since 2014, the Kurds have been in news due to attacks on the Kurdish people by the Islamic State (ISIS).

Kurdistan Workers' Party

In 1978, Abdullah Öcalan, a Kurdish nationalist leader, established the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK and proposed to fight for Kurdistan as an independent state in Turkey. Till the 1990s, the PKK indulged in an armed struggle and demanded an independent state. However, since the end of the Cold War, the PKK has dropped the idea of an armed struggle and has been advocating more cultural and political autonomy. 

The PKK has been in negotiations with the Turkish government, and the latest round of talks happened in 2012 where the Turks and PKK have established a ceasefire. 

In July 2015, as the ISIS-related violence on members of the PKK increased, the PKK blamed Turkey for all attacks on their members. The Turks, in relation, launched a synchronized war on terror on the PKK and ISIS. Turkey alleges that the PKK has been adamant on the secession of the Kurdish region from Turkey through armed struggle and thus labels it a terrorist organization.

Kurdish Syria conflict

Kurds in Syria have established a Democratic Unity Party (PYD) which fights in Syria not for an independent Kurdish state but for more autonomy in the local democratic administration in Federal Syria. In 2004, after the Qamishli uprising in Syria, the PYD formed People's Protection Units (YPG) in Rojava or the area of Syrian Kurdistan. In 2014, when ISIS attacked Syria, the YPG repelled ISIS.

Kurdish Flag

In Iraq, today, around 15-20 percent of the population is Kurd. The Kurds, historically, have enjoyed maximum rights in Iraq. In fact, in 1946, the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) was formed by Mustafa Barzani. 

Barzani wanted more autonomy for the Kurds in Iraq. In 1958, the Kurdish nationality was recognized by the new Iraqi constitution, but Barzani advocated self-rule which was not acceptable to Iraq. In 1961, Barzani launched an armed struggle. To diffuse the situation, the Iraqi government offered an autonomous region in 1970 but the deal failed. 

In 1974, there was a split in the KDP which led to Jalal Talabani establishing the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The KDP and PUK have repeatedly tried to share power but tensions between the groups have prevented any such endeavor. 

Peshmergas

After the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, a coalition called the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) was set up in 2005 in Dohuk, Irbil, and Sulaymaniyah. The KRG has been primarily an advocate of autonomy for Kurds. 

They have members belonging to the Kurdish nationalist guerilla organizations called Peshmergas. In 2014, when ISIS attacked Iraq in the north where Kurds reside, the KRG sent Peshmergas to fight. Since February 2016, Mustafa Barzani's son, Masoud Barzani, the current leader of the KDP, has been an advocate of a referendum, and the demand for the referendum was forcefully forwarded again in January 2017.

Yazidis

There also exists a small group of people in the Middle East called Yazidis. They are among the world's oldest minorities and are monotheistic people. 

Yazidis and their faith originated thousands of years ago, with roots in Zoroastrianism. They follow a blend of Islam and Christianity. 

In recent years, due to attacks on Yazidis by ISIS, the minority group is in danger. ISIS has labeled them devil worshippers and has called for their eradication. The Yazidis are almost on the verge of extinction. Today, they live near the Sinjar Mountains in Iraq. The Yazidis are non-Arabs and non-Muslim minorities.


PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party)

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUUK), a split of KDP

Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP)

Kurdish Regional Government (KRG)

Turkey

Kurdish Democratic Unity Party (PYD)

Iraq

Crux of the matter

Syria

People's Protection Units (YPG) is an

armed wing of PYD

Southeast Turkey

Northeast Syria

North Iraq

Southwest Armenia

Northwest Iran



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