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The Kurds
Kurds
(Kurdish: کورد‎) or the Kurdish people (Kurdish: گەلی کورد‎), are an ethnic group[24] in the Middle East, mostly inhabiting a contiguous area spanning adjacent parts of southeastern Turkey
Turkey
(Northern Kurdistan), northwestern Iran
Iran
(Eastern Kurdistan), northern Iraq
Iraq
(Southern Kurdistan), and northern Syria (Western Kurdistan).[25] The Kurds
Kurds
are culturally, historically and linguistically classified as belonging to the Iranian peoples.[26][27][28] Globally, the Kurds
Kurds
are estimated to number anywhere from a low of 30 million, to possibly as high as 45 million,[29][2] with the majority living in the region they regard as Greater Kurdistan. However, there are significant Kurdish diaspora
Kurdish diaspora
communities in the cities of western Turkey, in particular Istanbul. A recent Kurdish diaspora
Kurdish diaspora
has also developed in Western countries, primarily in Germany. The Kurds
Kurds
are the majority population in the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, and are a significant minority group in the neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran, and Syria, where Kurdish nationalist
Kurdish nationalist
movements continue to pursue greater autonomy and cultural rights.

Contents

1 Language 2 Population 3 History

3.1 Antiquity 3.2 Medieval period 3.3 Safavid
Safavid
period 3.4 Zand Period 3.5 Ottoman period 3.6 Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
of the 20th century 3.7 Name

4 Kurdish communities

4.1 Turkey 4.2 Iran 4.3 Iraq 4.4 Syria 4.5 Transcaucasus 4.6 Diaspora

5 Religion

5.1 Islam

5.1.1 Alevism

5.2 Ahl-i Haqq
Ahl-i Haqq
(Yarsan) 5.3 Yazidism 5.4 Zoroastrianism 5.5 Christianity

6 Culture

6.1 Education 6.2 Women 6.3 Folklore
Folklore
and mythology 6.4 Weaving 6.5 Handicrafts 6.6 Tattoos 6.7 Music and dance 6.8 Cinema 6.9 Sports 6.10 Architecture

7 Gallery 8 See also

8.1 Modern Kurdish-majority governments

9 References 10 Further reading

10.1 Historiography

11 Sources 12 External links

Language Main article: Kurdish languages

Geographic distribution of the Kurdish languages
Kurdish languages
(2007)

Kurdish-inhabited areas in the Middle East
Middle East
(1992)

Kurdish (Kurdish: Kurdî or کوردی) is a collection of related dialects spoken by the Kurds.[30] It is mainly spoken in those parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria
Syria
and Turkey
Turkey
which comprise Kurdistan.[31] Kurdish holds official status in Iraq
Iraq
as a national language alongside Arabic, is recognized in Iran
Iran
as a regional language, and in Armenia
Armenia
as a minority language. The Kurdish languages
Kurdish languages
belong to the northwestern sub‑group of the Iranian languages, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. Most Kurds
Kurds
are either bilingual or multilingual, speaking the language of their respective nation of origin, such as Arabic, Persian, and Turkish as a second language alongside their native Kurdish, while those in diaspora communities often speak three or more languages. According to Mackenzie, there are few linguistic features that all Kurdish dialects have in common and that are not at the same time found in other Iranian languages.[32] The Kurdish dialects according to Mackenzie are classified as:[33]

Northern group (the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
dialect group) Central group (part of the Sorani
Sorani
dialect group) Southern group (part of the Sorani
Sorani
dialect group) including Kermanshahi, Ardalani and Laki

The Zaza and Gorani are ethnic Kurds,[34] but the Zaza–Gorani languages are not classified as Kurdish.[35] Commenting on the differences between the dialects of Kurdish, Kreyenbroek clarifies that in some ways, Kurmanji
Kurmanji
and Sorani
Sorani
are as different from each other as is English from German, giving the example that Kurmanji
Kurmanji
has grammatical gender and case endings, but Sorani
Sorani
does not, and observing that referring to Sorani
Sorani
and Kurmanji as "dialects" of one language is supported only by "their common origin ... and the fact that this usage reflects the sense of ethnic identity and unity of the Kurds."[36] Population Main article: Kurdish population The number of Kurds
Kurds
living in Southwest Asia
Southwest Asia
is estimated at close to 30 million, with another one or two million living in diaspora. Kurds comprise anywhere from 18% to 20% of the population in Turkey,[1] possibly as high as 25%;[37] 15 to 20% in Iraq;[1] 10% in Iran;[1] and 9% in Syria.[1][38] Kurds
Kurds
form regional majorities in all four of these countries, viz. in Turkish Kurdistan, Iraqi Kurdistan, Iranian Kurdistan
Kurdistan
and Syrian Kurdistan. The Kurds
Kurds
are the fourth largest ethnic group in West Asia after the Arabs, Persians, and Turks. The total number of Kurds
Kurds
in 1991 was placed at 22.5 million, with 48% of this number living in Turkey, 18% in Iraq, 24% in Iran, and 4% in Syria.[39] Recent emigration accounts for a population of close to 1.5 million in Western countries, about half of them in Germany. A special case are the Kurdish populations in the Transcaucasus
Transcaucasus
and Central Asia, displaced there mostly in the time of the Russian Empire, who underwent independent developments for more than a century and have developed an ethnic identity in their own right.[40] This groups' population was estimated at close to 0.4 million in 1990.[41] History Main article: History of the Kurdish people Antiquity Main article: Origin of the Kurds "The land of Karda" is mentioned on a Sumerian clay-tablet dated to the 3rd millennium B.C. This land was inhabited by "the people of Su" who dwelt in the southern regions of Lake Van; The philological connection between "Kurd" and "Karda" is uncertain but the relationship is considered possible.[42] Other Sumerian clay-tables referred to the people, who lived in the land of Karda, as the Qarduchi and the Qurti.[43] Karda/Qardu is etymologically related to the Assyrian term Urartu
Urartu
and the Hebrew term Ararat.[44] Qarti or Qartas, who were originally settled on the mountains north of Mesopotamia, are considered as a probable ancestor of the Kurds. Akkadians were attacked by nomads coming through Qartas territory at the end of 3rd millennium B.C. Akkadians distinguished them as Guti. They conquered Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
in 2150 B.C. and ruled with 21 kings until defeated by the Sumerian king Utu-hengal.[45] Many Kurds
Kurds
consider themselves descended from the Medes, an ancient Iranian people,[46] and even use a calendar dating from 612 B.C., when the Assyrian capital of Nineveh
Nineveh
was conquered by the Medes.[47] The claimed Median descent is reflected in the words of the Kurdish national anthem: "We are the children of the Medes
Medes
and Kai Khosrow."[48] However, MacKenzie and Asatrian challenge the relation of the Median language to Kurdish.[49][50] The Kurdish languages, on the other hand, form a subgroup of the Northwestern Iranian languages like Median.[30][51] Some researchers consider the independent Kardouchoi as the ancestors of the Kurds,[52] while others prefer Cyrtians.[53] The term "Kurd," however, is first encountered in Arabic sources of the seventh century.[54] Books from the early Islamic era, including those containing legends such as the Shahnameh
Shahnameh
and the Middle Persian
Middle Persian
Kar-Namag i Ardashir i Pabagan, and other early Islamic sources provide early attestation of the name Kurd.[55] The Kurds
Kurds
have ethnically diverse origins.[56][57] During the Sassanid era, in Kar-Namag i Ardashir i Pabagan, a short prose work written in Middle Persian, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
is depicted as having battled the Kurds
Kurds
and their leader, Madig. After initially sustaining a heavy defeat, Ardashir I
Ardashir I
was successful in subjugating the Kurds.[58] In a letter Ardashir I
Ardashir I
received from his foe, Ardavan V, which is also featured in the same work, he is referred to as being a Kurd himself.

You've bitten off more than you can chew and you have brought death to yourself. O son of a Kurd, raised in the tents of the Kurds, who gave you permission to put a crown on your head?[59]

The usage of the term Kurd during this time period most likely was a social term, designating Northwestern Iranian nomads, rather than a concrete ethnic group.[59][60] Similarly, in AD 360, the Sassanid king Shapur II
Shapur II
marched into the Roman province Zabdicene, to conquer its chief city, Bezabde, present-day Cizre. He found it heavily fortified, and guarded by three legions and a large body of Kurdish archers.[61] After a long and hard-fought siege, Shapur II
Shapur II
breached the walls, conquered the city and massacred all its defenders. Thereafter he had the strategically located city repaired, provisioned and garrisoned with his best troops.[61] There is also a 7th-century text by an unidentified author, written about the legendary Christian martyr
Christian martyr
Mar Qardagh. He lived in the 4th century, during the reign of Shapur II, and during his travels is said to have encountered Mar Abdisho, a deacon and martyr, who, after having been questioned of his origins by Mar Qardagh and his Marzobans, stated that his parents were originally from an Assyrian village called Hazza, but were driven out and subsequently settled in Tamanon, a village in the land of the Kurds, identified as being in the region of Mount Judi.[62] Medieval period

Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb, or Saladin, founder of the Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
in the Middle East

Early Syriac sources use the terms Hurdanaye, Kurdanaye, Kurdaye to refer to the Kurds. According to Michael the Syrian, Hurdanaye separated from Tayaye Arabs
Arabs
and sought refuge with the Byzantine Emperor Theophilus. He also mentions the Persian troops who fought against Musa chief of Hurdanaye in the region of Qardu in 841. According to Barhebreaus, a king appeared to the Kurdanaye and they rebelled against the Arabs
Arabs
in 829. Michael the Syrian
Michael the Syrian
considered them as pagan, followers of mahdi and adepts of Magianism. Their mahdi called himself Christ and the Holy Ghost.[63] In the early Middle Ages, the Kurds
Kurds
sporadically appear in Arabic sources, though the term was still not being used for a specific people; instead it referred to an amalgam of nomadic western Iranic tribes, who were distinct from Persians. However, in the High Middle Ages, the Kurdish ethnic identity gradually materialized, as one can find clear evidence of the Kurdish ethnic identity and solidarity in texts of the 12th and 13th century,[64] though, the term was also still being used in the social sense.[65] From 11th century onward, the term Kurd is explicitly defined as an ethnonym and this does not suggest synonymity with the ethnographic category nomad.[66] Al-Tabari wrote that in 639, Hormuzan, a Sasanian general originating from a noble family, battled against the Islamic invaders in Khuzestan, and called upon the Kurds
Kurds
to aid him in battle.[67] However, they were defeated and brought under Islamic rule.

Kurdish Warriors By Frank Feller

In 838, a Kurdish leader based in Mosul, named Mir Jafar, revolted against the Caliph Al-Mu'tasim
Al-Mu'tasim
who sent the commander Itakh to combat him. Itakh won this war and executed many of the Kurds.[68][69] Eventually Arabs
Arabs
conquered the Kurdish regions and gradually converted the majority of Kurds
Kurds
to Islam, often incorporating them into the military, such as the Hamdanids
Hamdanids
whose dynastic family members also frequently intermarried with Kurds.[70][71] In 934 the Daylamite
Daylamite
Buyid
Buyid
dynasty was founded, and subsequently conquered most of present-day Iran
Iran
and Iraq. During the time of rule of this dynasty, Kurdish chief and ruler, Badr ibn Hasanwaih, established himself as one of the most important emirs of the time.[72] In the 10th-12th centuries, a number of Kurdish principalities
Kurdish principalities
and dynasties were founded, ruling Kurdistan
Kurdistan
and neighbouring areas:

The Shaddadids
Shaddadids
(951–1174) ruled parts of present-day Armenia
Armenia
and Arran.[73] The Rawadid
Rawadid
(955–1221) ruled Azerbaijan.[74] The Hasanwayhids
Hasanwayhids
(959–1015) ruled western Iran
Iran
and upper Mesopotamia.[75] The Marwanids
Marwanids
(990–1096) ruled eastern Anatolia.[76] The Annazids
Annazids
(990–1117) ruled western Iran
Iran
and upper Mesopotamia (succeeded the Hasanwayhids).[77] The Hazaraspids
Hazaraspids
(1148–1424) ruled southwestern Iran.[78]

The Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
was a Muslim
Muslim
dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin.

The Ayyubids
Ayyubids
(1171–1341) ruled Egypt, Syria, Upper Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
and parts of southeastern Anatolia
Anatolia
and the Arabian Peninsula.[79]

The city of Piranshahr, center of Mokrian district, northwestern Iran

Due to the Turkic invasion of Anatolia, the 11th century Kurdish dynasties crumbled and became incorporated into the Seljuk Dynasty. Kurds
Kurds
would hereafter be used in great numbers in the armies of the Zengids.[80] Succeeding the Zengids, the Kurdish Ayyubids
Ayyubids
established themselves in 1171, first under the leadership of Saladin. Saladin
Saladin
led the Muslims to recapture the city of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
from the Crusaders
Crusaders
at the Battle of Hattin; also frequently clashing with the Hashashins. The Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
lasted until 1341 when the Ayyubid
Ayyubid
sultanate fell to Mongolian invasions. Safavid
Safavid
period Further information: Safavid
Safavid
dynasty The Safavid
Safavid
Dynasty, established in 1501, also established its rule over Kurdish-inhabited territories. The paternal line of this family actually had Kurdish roots, tracing back to Firuz- Shah
Shah
Zarrin-Kolah, a dignitary who moved from Kurdistan
Kurdistan
to Ardabil in the 11th century.[81][82] The Battle of Chaldiran
Battle of Chaldiran
in 1514 that culminated in what is nowadays Iran's West Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
Province, marked the start of the Ottoman-Persian Wars between the Iranian Safavids
Safavids
(and successive Iranian dynasties) and the Ottomans. For the next 300 years, many of the Kurds
Kurds
found themselves living in territories that frequently changed hands between Ottoman Turkey
Turkey
and Iran
Iran
during the protracted series of Ottoman-Persian Wars. The Safavid
Safavid
king Ismail I
Ismail I
(r. 1501-1524) put down a Yezidi rebellion which went on from 1506-1510. A century later, the year-long Battle of Dimdim took place, wherein the Safavid
Safavid
king Abbas I (r. 1588-1629) succeeded in putting down the rebellion led by the Kurdish ruler Amir Khan Lepzerin. Thereafter, a large number of Kurds
Kurds
were deported to Khorasan, not only to weaken the Kurds, but also to protect the eastern border from invading Afghan and Turkmen tribes.[83] Other forced movements and deportations of other groups were also implimented by Abbas I and his successors, most notably of the Armenians, the Georgians, and the Circassians, who were moved en masse to and from other districts within the Persian empire.[84][85][86][87][88] The Kurds
Kurds
of Khorasan, numbering around 700,000, still use the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
Kurdish dialect.[89][90] Several Kurdish noblemen served the Safavids
Safavids
and rose to prominence, such as Shaykh Ali Khan Zanganeh, who served as the grand vizier of the Safavid
Safavid
shah Suleiman I (r. 1666–1694) from 1669 to 1689. Due to his efforts in reforming the declining Iranian economy, he has been called the " Safavid
Safavid
Amir Kabir" in modern historiography.[91] His son, Shahqoli Khan Zanganeh, also served as a grand vizier from 1707 to 1716. Another Kurdish statesman, Ganj Ali Khan, was close friends with Abbas I, and served as governor in various provinces and was known for his loyal service. Zand Period Further information: Zand dynasty

Karim Khan, the Laki ruler of the Zand Dynasty

After the fall of the Safavids, Iran
Iran
fell under the control of the Afsharid Empire
Afsharid Empire
ruled by Nader Shah
Shah
at its peak. After Nader's death, Iran
Iran
fell into civil war, with multiple leaders trying to gain control over the country. Ultimately, it was Karim Khan, a Laki general of the Zand tribe who would come to power.[92] The country would flourish during Karim Khan’s reign; a strong resurgence of the arts would take place, and international ties were strengthened.[93] Karim Khan was portrayed as being a ruler who truly cared about his subjects, thereby gaining the title Vakil e-Ra’aayaa (meaning Representative of the People in Persian).[93] Though not as powerful in its geo-political and military reach as the preceding Safavids
Safavids
and Afsharids or even the early Qajars, he managed to reassert Iranian hegemony over its integral territories in the Caucasus, and presided over an era of relative peace, prosperity, and tranquility. In Ottoman Iraq, following the Ottoman–Persian War (1775–76), Karim Khan managed to seize Basra
Basra
for several years.[94][95] After Karim Khan's death, the dynasty would decline in favour of the rival Qajars due to infighting between the Khan’s incompetent offspring. It wasn't until Lotf Ali Khan, 10 years later, that the dynasty would once again be led by an adept ruler. By this time however, the Qajars had already progressed greatly, having taken a number of Zand territories. Lotf Ali Khan
Lotf Ali Khan
made multiple successes before ultimately succumbing to the rivaling faction. Iran
Iran
and all its Kurdish territories would hereby be incorporated in the Qajar
Qajar
Dynasty. The Kurdish tribes
Kurdish tribes
present in Baluchistan
Baluchistan
and some of those in Fars are believed to be remnants of those that assisted and accompanied Lotf Ali Khan
Lotf Ali Khan
and Karim Khan, respectively.[96] Ottoman period Further information: Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and Sheik Ubeydullah When Sultan Selim I, after defeating Shah
Shah
Ismail I
Ismail I
in 1514, annexed Western Armenia
Armenia
and Kurdistan, he entrusted the organisation of the conquered territories to Idris, the historian, who was a Kurd of Bitlis. He divided the territory into sanjaks or districts, and, making no attempt to interfere with the principle of heredity, installed the local chiefs as governors. He also resettled the rich pastoral country between Erzerum
Erzerum
and Erivan, which had lain in waste since the passage of Timur, with Kurds
Kurds
from the Hakkari
Hakkari
and Bohtan districts. For the next centuries, from the Peace of Amasya
Peace of Amasya
until the first half of the 19th century, several regions of the wide Kurdish homelands would be contested as well between the Ottomans and the neighbouring rival successive Iranian dynasties (Safavids, Afsharids, Qajars) in the frequent Ottoman-Persian Wars. The Ottoman centralist policies in the beginning of the 19th century aimed to remove power from the principalities and localities, which directly affected the Kurdish emirs. Bedirhan Bey
Bedirhan Bey
was the last emir of the Cizre
Cizre
Bohtan Emirate
Emirate
after initiating an uprising in 1847 against the Ottomans to protect the current structures of the Kurdish principalities. Although his uprising is not classified as a nationalist one, his children played significant roles in the emergence and the development of Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
through the next century.[97] The first modern Kurdish nationalist
Kurdish nationalist
movement emerged in 1880 with an uprising led by a Kurdish landowner and head of the powerful Shemdinan family, Sheik Ubeydullah, who demanded political autonomy or outright independence for Kurds
Kurds
as well as the recognition of a Kurdistan
Kurdistan
state without interference from Turkish or Persian authorities.[98] The uprising against Qajar
Qajar
Persia and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was ultimately suppressed by the Ottomans and Ubeydullah, along with other notables, were exiled to Istanbul. Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
of the 20th century Further information: Kurdish nationalism, Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire, and Iraqi Kurdistan

Provisions of the Treaty of Sèvres
Treaty of Sèvres
for an independent Kurdistan
Kurdistan
(in 1920).

Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
emerged after World War I with the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
which had historically successfully integrated (but not assimilated) the Kurds, through use of forced repression of Kurdish movements to gain independence. Revolts did occur sporadically but only in 1880 with the uprising led by Sheik Ubeydullah
Sheik Ubeydullah
did the Kurds
Kurds
as an ethnic group or nation make demands. Ottoman sultan Abdul Hamid responded with a campaign of integration by co-opting prominent Kurdish opponents to strengthen Ottoman power with offers of prestigious positions in his government. This strategy appears to have been successful given the loyalty displayed by the Kurdish Hamidiye regiments during World War I.[99] The Kurdish ethno-nationalist movement that emerged following World War I and the end of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was largely a reaction to the changes taking place in mainstream Turkey, primarily to the radical secularization, which the strongly Muslim
Muslim
Kurds
Kurds
abhorred, to the centralization of authority, which threatened the power of local chieftains and Kurdish autonomy, and to rampant Turkish nationalism
Turkish nationalism
in the new Turkish Republic, which obviously threatened to marginalize them.[100]

Kurdish Cavalry in the passes of the Caucasus
Caucasus
mountains (The New York Times, January 24, 1915).

Jakob Künzler, head of a missionary hospital in Urfa, has documented the large scale ethnic cleansing of both Armenians
Armenians
and Kurds
Kurds
by the Young Turks.[101] He has given a detailed account of the deportation of Kurds
Kurds
from Erzurum
Erzurum
and Bitlis
Bitlis
in the winter of 1916. The Kurds
Kurds
were perceived to be subversive elements that would take the Russian side in the war. In order to eliminate this threat, Young Turks
Young Turks
embarked on a large scale deportation of Kurds
Kurds
from the regions of Djabachdjur, Palu, Musch, Erzurum
Erzurum
and Bitlis. Around 300,000 Kurds
Kurds
were forced to move southwards to Urfa
Urfa
and then westwards to Aintab and Marasch. In the summer of 1917, Kurds
Kurds
were moved to Konya
Konya
in central Anatolia. Through these measures, the Young Turk leaders aimed at weakening the political influence of the Kurds
Kurds
by deporting them from their ancestral lands and by dispersing them in small pockets of exiled communities. By the end of World War I, up to 700,000 Kurds
Kurds
had been forcibly deported and almost half of the displaced perished.[102] Some of the Kurdish groups sought self-determination and the confirmation of Kurdish autonomy in the Treaty of Sèvres, but in the aftermath of World War I, Kemal Atatürk prevented such a result. Kurds
Kurds
backed by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
declared independence in 1927 and established the Republic of Ararat. Turkey
Turkey
suppressed Kurdist revolts in 1925, 1930, and 1937–1938, while Iran
Iran
in the 1920s suppressed Simko Shikak
Simko Shikak
at Lake Urmia
Lake Urmia
and Jaafar Sultan of the Hewraman region, who controlled the region between Marivan
Marivan
and north of Halabja. A short-lived Soviet-sponsored Kurdish Republic of Mahabad
Republic of Mahabad
in Iran
Iran
did not long outlast World War II.

Kurdish-inhabited areas of the Middle East
Middle East
and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
in 1986.

From 1922–1924 in Iraq
Iraq
a Kingdom of Kurdistan
Kurdistan
existed. When Ba'athist administrators thwarted Kurdish nationalist
Kurdish nationalist
ambitions in Iraq, war broke out in the 1960s. In 1970 the Kurds
Kurds
rejected limited territorial self-rule within Iraq, demanding larger areas including the oil-rich Kirkuk
Kirkuk
region. During the 1920s and 1930s, several large scale Kurdish revolts took place in Kurdistan. Following these rebellions, the area of Turkish Kurdistan
Kurdistan
was put under martial law and a large number of the Kurds were displaced. The Turkish government also encouraged resettlement of Albanians from Kosovo and Assyrians in the region to change the make-up of the population. These events and measures led to a long-lasting mutual distrust between Ankara and the Kurds
Kurds
.[103] During the relatively open government of the 1950s, Kurds
Kurds
gained political office and started working within the framework of the Turkish Republic to further their interests, but this move towards integration was halted with the 1960 Turkish coup d'état.[99] The 1970s saw an evolution in Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
as Marxist
Marxist
political thought influenced some in the new generation of Kurdish nationalists opposed to the local feudal authorities who had been a traditional source of opposition to authority; eventually they would form the militant separatist organization PKK, also known as the Kurdistan Workers' Party in English. The Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Workers' Party later abandoned Marxism-Leninism.[104] Kurds
Kurds
are often regarded as "the largest ethnic group without a state."[105][106][107][108][109][110] A similar claim regarding the Rohinga
Rohinga
of Myanmar
Myanmar
has also been made, however while the level of persecution of the Rohinga
Rohinga
is certainly greater than that of the Kurds, there are only approximately 2 million Rohinga, as compared to over 30 million Kurds.[111] The Kurdish claim of "statelessness" is rejected by some researchers such as Martin van Bruinessen[112] and some other scholars who seem to agree with the official Turkish position. They argue that while some level of Kurdish cultural, social, political and ideological heterogeneity may exist, the Kurdish community has long thrived over the centuries as a generally peaceful and well integrated part of Turkish society, with hostilities erupting only in recent years.[113][114][115] Michael Radu who had worked for the United States's Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania
Foreign Policy Research Institute argued that the claim of Kurdish "statelessness" comes primarily from Kurdish nationalists, Western human rights activists, and European leftists.[113] Name Main article: Name of the Kurds The exact origins of the name Kurd are unclear.[116] The underlying toponym is recorded in Assyrian as Qardu and in Middle Bronze Age Sumerian as Kar-da.[117] Assyrian Qardu refers to an area in the upper Tigris
Tigris
basin, and it is presumably reflected in corrupted form in Classical Arabic
Arabic
Ǧūdī, re-adopted in Kurdish as Cûdî.[118] The name would be continued as the first element in the toponym Corduene, mentioned by Xenophon
Xenophon
as the tribe who opposed the retreat of the Ten Thousand through the mountains north of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
in the 4th century BC. There are, however, dissenting views, which do not derive the name of the Kurds
Kurds
from Qardu and Corduene
Corduene
but opt for derivation from Cyrtii (Cyrtaei) instead.[119] Regardless of its possible roots in ancient toponymy, the ethnonym Kurd might be derived from a term kwrt- used in Middle Persian
Middle Persian
as a common noun to refer to "nomads" or "tent-dwellers," which could be applied as an attribute to any Iranian group with such a lifestyle.[120] The term gained the characteristic of an ethnonym following the Muslim conquest of Persia, as it was adopted into Arabic
Arabic
and gradually became associated with an amalgamation of Iranian and Iranicised tribes and groups in the region.[121][122] It is also hypothesized that Kurd could derive from the Persian word gord (see Shahrekord), because the Arabic
Arabic
script lacks a symbol corresponding uniquely to g (گ).[citation needed] Sherefxan Bidlisi
Sherefxan Bidlisi
in the 16th century states that there are four division of "Kurds": Kurmanj, Lur, Kalhor and Guran, each of which speak a different dialect or language variation. Paul (2008) notes that the 16th-century usage of the term Kurd as recorded by Bidlisi, regardless of linguistic grouping, might still reflect an incipient Northwestern Iranian "Kurdish" ethnic identity uniting the Kurmanj, Kalhur, and Guran.[30] Kurdish communities Further information: Kurdistan
Kurdistan
and Kurdish refugees Turkey Main articles: Kurds
Kurds
in Turkey, Kurds
Kurds
of Central Anatolia, Turkish Kurdistan, Human rights in Turkey, Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Workers Party, and Human rights of Kurdish people in Turkey

Two Kurds
Kurds
From Constantinople
Constantinople
1899

According to CIA Factbook, Kurds
Kurds
formed approximately 18% of the population in Turkey
Turkey
(approximately 14 million) in 2008. One Western source estimates that up to 25% of the Turkish population is Kurdish (approximately 18-19 million people).[37] Kurdish sources claim there are as many as 20 or 25 million Kurds
Kurds
in Turkey.[123] In 1980, Ethnologue
Ethnologue
estimated the number of Kurdish-speakers in Turkey
Turkey
at around five million,[124] when the country's population stood at 44 million.[125] Kurds
Kurds
form the largest minority group in Turkey, and they have posed the most serious and persistent challenge to the official image of a homogeneous society. This classification was changed to the new euphemism of Eastern Turk in 1980.[126] Nowadays the Kurds, in Turkey, are still known under the name Easterner (Doğulu). Several large scale Kurdish revolts in 1925, 1930 and 1938 were suppressed by the Turkish government and more than one million Kurds were forcibly relocated between 1925 and 1938. The use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned and the Kurdish-inhabited areas remained under martial law until 1946.[127] The Ararat
Ararat
revolt, which reached its apex in 1930, was only suppressed after a massive military campaign including destruction of many villages and their populations.[128] By the 1970s, Kurdish leftist organizations such as Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Socialist Party- Turkey
Turkey
(KSP-T) emerged in Turkey
Turkey
which were against violence and supported civil activities and participation in elections. In 1977, Mehdi Zana a supporter of KSP-T won the mayoralty of Diyarbakir
Diyarbakir
in the local elections. At about the same time, generational fissures gave birth to two new organizations: the National Liberation of Kurdistan
Kurdistan
and the Kurdistan Workers Party.[129]

Kurdish boys in Diyarbakir.

The words "Kurds", "Kurdistan", or "Kurdish" were officially banned by the Turkish government.[130] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
was officially prohibited in public and private life.[131] Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[132] The Kurds
Kurds
are still not allowed to get a primary education in their mother tongue and they don't have a right to self-determination, even though Turkey
Turkey
has signed the ICCPR. There is ongoing discrimination against and “otherization” of Kurds
Kurds
in society.[133] The Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan
Kurdistan
(PKK), also known as KADEK and Kongra-Gel is Kurdish militant organization which has waged an armed struggle against the Turkish state for cultural and political rights and self-determination for the Kurds. Turkey's military allies the US, the EU, and NATO
NATO
see the PKK as a terrorist organization while the UN,[134] Switzerland,[135] Russia,[136] China
China
and India
India
have refused to add the PKK to their terrorist list.[137] Some of them have even supported the PKK.[138] Between 1984 and 1999, the PKK and the Turkish military engaged in open war, and much of the countryside in the southeast was depopulated, as Kurdish civilians moved from villages to bigger cities such as Diyarbakır, Van, and Şırnak, as well as to the cities of western Turkey
Turkey
and even to western Europe. The causes of the depopulation included mainly the Turkish state's military operations, state's political actions, Turkish Deep state actions, the poverty of the southeast and PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans which were against them.[139] Turkish State actions have included forced inscription, forced evacuation, destruction of villages, severe harassment, illegal arrests and executions of Kurdish civilians.[140][141][142][143] Since the 1970s, the European Court of Human Rights
European Court of Human Rights
has condemned Turkey
Turkey
for the thousands of human rights abuses.[140][144] The judgments are related to executions of Kurdish civilians,[141] torturing,[145] forced displacements[146] systematic destruction of villages,[147] arbitrary arrests[148] murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists.[149]

Leyla Zana

Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish female MP from Diyarbakir, caused an uproar in Turkish Parliament
Turkish Parliament
after adding the following sentence in Kurdish to her parliamentary oath during the swearing-in ceremony in 1994: "I take this oath for the brotherhood of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples."[150] In March 1994, the Turkish Parliament
Turkish Parliament
voted to lift the immunity of Zana and five other Kurdish DEP members: Hatip Dicle, Ahmet Turk, Sirri Sakik, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak. Zana, Dicle, Sadak and Dogan were sentenced to 15 years in jail by the Supreme Court in October 1995. Zana was awarded the Sakharov Prize
Sakharov Prize
for human rights by the European Parliament
European Parliament
in 1995. She was released in 2004 amid warnings from European institutions that the continued imprisonment of the four Kurdish MPs would affect Turkey's bid to join the EU.[151][152] The 2009 local elections resulted in 5.7% for Kurdish political party DTP.[153] Officially protected death squads are accused of the disappearance of 3,200 Kurds
Kurds
and Assyrians in 1993 and 1994 in the so-called "mystery killings". Kurdish politicians, human-rights activists, journalists, teachers and other members of intelligentsia were among the victims. Virtually none of the perpetrators were investigated nor punished. Turkish government also encouraged Islamic extremist group Hezbollah to assassinate suspected PKK members and often ordinary Kurds.[154] Azimet Köylüoğlu, the state minister of human rights, revealed the extent of security forces' excesses in autumn 1994: While acts of terrorism in other regions are done by the PKK; in Tunceli it is state terrorism. In Tunceli, it is the state that is evacuating and burning villages. In the southeast there are two million people left homeless.[155] Iran Main articles: Kurds
Kurds
in Iran, Kurds
Kurds
of Khorasan, Iranian Kurdistan, and History of the Kurds The Kurdish region of Iran
Iran
has been a part of the country since ancient times. Nearly all Kurdistan
Kurdistan
was part of Persian Empire until its Western part was lost during wars against the Ottoman Empire.[156] Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 Tehran
Tehran
had demanded all lost territories including Turkish Kurdistan, Mosul, and even Diyarbakır, but demands were quickly rejected by Western powers.[157] This area has been divided by modern Turkey, Syria
Syria
and Iraq.[158] Today, the Kurds
Kurds
inhabit mostly northwestern territories known as Iranian Kurdistan
Kurdistan
but also the northeastern region of Khorasan, and constitute approximately 7-10%[159] of Iran's overall population (6.5–7.9 million), compared to 10.6% (2 million) in 1956 and 8% (800 thousand) in 1850.[160]

Yellow parts are Kurdish inhabited areas.

Unlike in other Kurdish-populated countries, there are strong ethnolinguistical and cultural ties between Kurds, Persians and others as Iranian peoples.[159] Some modern Iranian dynasties like the Safavids
Safavids
and Zands
Zands
are considered to be partly of Kurdish origin. Kurdish literature
Kurdish literature
in all of its forms (Kurmanji, Sorani, and Gorani) has been developed within historical Iranian boundaries under strong influence of the Persian language.[158] The Kurds
Kurds
sharing much of their history with the rest of Iran
Iran
is seen as reason for why Kurdish leaders in Iran
Iran
do not want a separate Kurdish state[159][161][162] The government of Iran
Iran
has never employed the same level of brutality against its own Kurds
Kurds
like Turkey
Turkey
or Iraq, but it has always been implacably opposed to any suggestion of Kurdish separatism.[159] During and shortly after the First World War
First World War
the government of Iran was ineffective and had very little control over events in the country and several Kurdish tribal chiefs gained local political power, even established large confederations.[161] At the same time waves of nationalism from the disintegrating Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
partly influenced some Kurdish chiefs in border regions to pose as Kurdish nationalist leaders.[161] Prior to this, identity in both countries largely relied upon religion i.e. Shia
Shia
Islam
Islam
in the particular case of Iran.[162][163] In 19th century Iran, Shia– Sunni
Sunni
animosity and the describing of Sunni
Sunni
Kurds
Kurds
as an Ottoman fifth column was quite frequent.[164] During the late 1910s and early 1920s, tribal revolt led by Kurdish chieftain Simko Shikak
Simko Shikak
struck north western Iran. Although elements of Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
were present in this movement, historians agree these were hardly articulate enough to justify a claim that recognition of Kurdish identity was a major issue in Simko's movement, and he had to rely heavily on conventional tribal motives.[161] Government forces and non- Kurds
Kurds
were not the only ones to suffer in the attacks, the Kurdish population
Kurdish population
was also robbed and assaulted.[161][165] Rebels do not appear to have felt any sense of unity or solidarity with fellow Kurds.[161] Kurdish insurgency and seasonal migrations in the late 1920s, along with long-running tensions between Tehran
Tehran
and Ankara, resulted in border clashes and even military penetrations in both Iranian and Turkish territory.[157] Two regional powers have used Kurdish tribes
Kurdish tribes
as tool for own political benefits: Turkey
Turkey
has provided military help and refuge for anti-Iranian Turcophone Shikak rebels in 1918-1922,[166] while Iran did the same during Ararat rebellion
Ararat rebellion
against Turkey
Turkey
in 1930. Reza Shah's military victory over Kurdish and Turkic tribal leaders initiated a repressive era toward non-Iranian minorities.[165] Government's forced detribalization and sedentarization in 1920s and 1930s resulted with many other tribal revolts in Iranian regions of Azerbaijan, Luristan
Luristan
and Kurdistan.[167] In particular case of the Kurds, this repressive policies partly contributed to developing nationalism among some tribes.[161] As a response to growing Pan-Turkism
Pan-Turkism
and Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
in region which were seen as potential threats to the territorial integrity of Iran, Pan-Iranist
Pan-Iranist
ideology has been developed in the early 1920s.[163] Some of such groups and journals openly advocated Iranian support to the Kurdish rebellion against Turkey.[168] Secular Pahlavi dynasty
Pahlavi dynasty
has endorsed Iranian ethnic nationalism[163] which seen the Kurds
Kurds
as integral part of the Iranian nation.[162] Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
has personally praised the Kurds
Kurds
as "pure Iranians" or "one of the most noble Iranian peoples".[169] Another significant ideology during this period was Marxism
Marxism
which arose among Kurds
Kurds
under influence of USSR. It culminated in the Iran
Iran
crisis of 1946 which included a separatist attempt of KDP-I
KDP-I
and communist groups[170] to establish the Soviet puppet government[171][172][173] called Republic of Mahabad. It arose along with Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
People's Government, another Soviet puppet state.[159][174] The state itself encompassed a very small territory, including Mahabad
Mahabad
and the adjacent cities, unable to incorporate the southern Iranian Kurdistan
Kurdistan
which fell inside the Anglo-American zone, and unable to attract the tribes outside Mahabad
Mahabad
itself to the nationalist cause.[159] As a result, when the Soviets withdrew from Iran
Iran
in December 1946, government forces were able to enter Mahabad unopposed.[159]

Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, former Mayor of Tehran.[175]

Several nationalist and Marxist
Marxist
insurgencies continued for decades (1967, 1979, 1989–96) led by KDP-I
KDP-I
and Komalah, but those two organization have never advocated a separate Kurdish state or greater Kurdistan
Kurdistan
as did the PKK in Turkey.[161][176][177][178] Still, many of dissident leaders, among others Qazi Muhammad
Qazi Muhammad
and Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, were executed or assassinated.[159] During Iran–Iraq War, Tehran
Tehran
has provided support for Iraqi-based Kurdish groups like KDP or PUK, along with asylum for 1,400,000 Iraqi refugees, mostly Kurds. Kurdish Marxist
Marxist
groups have been marginalized in Iran
Iran
since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 2004 new insurrection started by PJAK, separatist organization affiliated with the Turkey-based PKK[179] and designated as terrorist by Iran, Turkey
Turkey
and the United States.[179] Some analysts claim PJAK
PJAK
do not pose any serious threat to the government of Iran.[180] Cease-fire has been established in September 2011 following the Iranian offensive on PJAK
PJAK
bases, but several clashes between PJAK
PJAK
and IRGC took place after it.[114] Since the Iranian Revolution
Iranian Revolution
of 1979, accusations of "discrimination" by Western organizations and of "foreign involvement" by Iranian side have become very frequent.[114] Kurds
Kurds
have been well integrated in Iranian political life during reign of various governments.[161] Kurdish liberal political Karim Sanjabi has served as minister of education under Mohammad Mossadegh
Mohammad Mossadegh
in 1952.[169] During the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi
some members of parliament and high army officers were Kurds, and there was even a Kurdish Cabinet Minister.[161] During the reign of the Pahlavis Kurds received many favours from the authorities, for instance to keep their land after the land reforms of 1962.[161] In the early 2000s, presence of thirty Kurdish deputies in the 290-strong parliament has also helped to undermine claims of discrimination.[181] Some of the more influential Kurdish politicians during recent years include former first vice president Mohammad Reza Rahimi
Mohammad Reza Rahimi
and Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, Mayor of Tehran
Mayor of Tehran
and second-placed presidential candidate in 2013. Kurdish language
Kurdish language
is today used more than at any other time since the Revolution, including in several newspapers and among schoolchildren.[181] A large number of Iranian Kurds
Iranian Kurds
show no interest in Kurdish nationalism,[159] particularly Kurds
Kurds
of the Shia
Shia
faith who sometimes even vigorously reject idea of autonomy, preferring direct rule from Tehran.[159][176] The issue of Kurdish nationalism
Kurdish nationalism
and Iranian national identity is generally only questioned in the peripheral Kurdish dominated regions where the Sunni
Sunni
faith is prevalent.[182] Iraq Further information: Kurds
Kurds
in Iraq; Iraqi Kurdistan; Al-Anfal genocide; Halabja
Halabja
poison gas attack; and Iraqi Kurdistan
Kurdistan
independence referendum, 2017

The President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani, meeting with U.S. officials in Baghdad, Iraq, on 26 April 2006.

Kurds
Kurds
constitute approximately 17% of Iraq's population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq
Iraq
which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds
Kurds
also have a presence in Kirkuk, Mosul, Khanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds
Kurds
live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul
Mosul
and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[183] Kurds
Kurds
led by Mustafa Barzani
Mustafa Barzani
were engaged in heavy fighting against successive Iraqi regimes from 1960 to 1975. In March 1970, Iraq announced a peace plan providing for Kurdish autonomy. The plan was to be implemented in four years.[184] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions of Kirkuk
Kirkuk
and Khanaqin.[185] The peace agreement did not last long, and in 1974, the Iraqi government began a new offensive against the Kurds. Moreover, in March 1975, Iraq
Iraq
and Iran
Iran
signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran
Iran
cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq
Iraq
started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs
Arabs
to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[186] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds
Kurds
were deported to other parts of Iraq.[187] During the Iran– Iraq
Iraq
War in the 1980s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. Iraq
Iraq
was widely condemned by the international community, but was never seriously punished for oppressive measures such as the mass murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians, the wholesale destruction of thousands of villages and the deportation of thousands of Kurds
Kurds
to southern and central Iraq. The genocidal campaign, conducted between 1986 and 1989 and culminating in 1988, carried out by the Iraqi government against the Kurdish population
Kurdish population
was called Anfal ("Spoils of War"). The Anfal campaign led to destruction of over two thousand villages and killing of 182,000 Kurdish civilians.[188] The campaign included the use of ground offensives, aerial bombing, systematic destruction of settlements, mass deportation, firing squads, and chemical attacks, including the most infamous attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja
Halabja
in 1988 that killed 5000 civilians instantly.

Kurdish children in Sulaymaniyah

After the collapse of the Kurdish uprising in March 1991, Iraqi troops recaptured most of the Kurdish areas and 1.5 million Kurds
Kurds
abandoned their homes and fled to the Turkish and Iranian borders. It is estimated that close to 20,000 Kurds
Kurds
succumbed to death due to exhaustion, lack of food, exposure to cold and disease. On 5 April 1991, UN Security Council
UN Security Council
passed resolution 688 which condemned the repression of Iraqi Kurdish civilians and demanded that Iraq
Iraq
end its repressive measures and allow immediate access to international humanitarian organizations.[189] This was the first international document (since the League of Nations
League of Nations
arbitration of Mosul
Mosul
in 1926) to mention Kurds
Kurds
by name. In mid-April, the Coalition established safe havens inside Iraqi borders and prohibited Iraqi planes from flying north of 36th parallel.[57]:373, 375 In October 1991, Kurdish guerrillas captured Erbil and Sulaimaniyah
Sulaimaniyah
after a series of clashes with Iraqi troops. In late October, Iraqi government retaliated by imposing a food and fuel embargo on the Kurds
Kurds
and stopping to pay civil servants in the Kurdish region. The embargo, however, backfired and Kurds
Kurds
held parliamentary elections in May 1992 and established Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Regional Government (KRG).[190] The Kurdish population
Kurdish population
welcomed the American troops in 2003 by holding celebrations and dancing in the streets.[191][192][193][194] The area controlled by Peshmerga
Peshmerga
was expanded, and Kurds
Kurds
now have effective control in Kirkuk
Kirkuk
and parts of Mosul. The authority of the KRG and legality of its laws and regulations were recognized in the articles 113 and 137 of the new Iraqi Constitution ratified in 2005.[195] By the beginning of 2006, the two Kurdish administrations of Erbil and Sulaimaniya were unified. On 14 August 2007, Yazidis
Yazidis
were targeted in a series of bombings that became the deadliest suicide attack since the Iraq
Iraq
War began, killing 796 civilians, wounding 1,562.[196] Syria Main articles: Kurds
Kurds
in Syria
Syria
and Rojava

PYD militiaman manning a checkpoint in Afrin, Syria, during the Rojava conflict

Kurds
Kurds
account for 9% of Syria's population, a total of around 1.6 million people.[197] This makes them the largest ethnic minority in the country. They are mostly concentrated in the northeast and the north, but there are also significant Kurdish populations in Aleppo and Damascus. Kurds
Kurds
often speak Kurdish in public, unless all those present do not. According to Amnesty International, Kurdish human rights activists are mistreated and persecuted.[198] No political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish or otherwise. Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of Kurds
Kurds
in Syria include various bans on the use of the Kurdish language, refusal to register children with Kurdish names, the replacement of Kurdish place names with new names in Arabic, the prohibition of businesses that do not have Arabic
Arabic
names, the prohibition of Kurdish private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Kurdish.[199][200] Having been denied the right to Syrian nationality, around 300,000 Kurds
Kurds
have been deprived of any social rights, in violation of international law.[201][202] As a consequence, these Kurds
Kurds
are in effect trapped within Syria. In March 2011, in part to avoid further demonstrations and unrest from spreading across Syria, the Syrian government promised to tackle the issue and grant Syrian citizenship to approximately 300,000 Kurds
Kurds
who had been previously denied the right.[203] On 12 March 2004, beginning at a stadium in Qamishli
Qamishli
(a largely Kurdish city in northeastern Syria), clashes between Kurds
Kurds
and Syrians broke out and continued over a number of days. At least thirty people were killed and more than 160 injured. The unrest spread to other Kurdish towns along the northern border with Turkey, and then to Damascus
Damascus
and Aleppo.[204][205] As a result of Syrian civil war, since July 2012, Kurds
Kurds
were able to take control of large parts of Syrian Kurdistan
Kurdistan
from Andiwar in extreme northeast to Jindires in extreme northwest Syria. The Syrian Kurds
Kurds
started the Rojava
Rojava
Revolution in 2013. Transcaucasus See also: Kurdish-Armenian relations
Kurdish-Armenian relations
and Kurds
Kurds
in Azerbaijan Between the 1930s and 1980s, Armenia
Armenia
was a part of the Soviet Union, within which Kurds, like other ethnic groups, had the status of a protected minority. Armenian Kurds
Kurds
were permitted their own state-sponsored newspaper, radio broadcasts and cultural events. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many non- Yazidi
Yazidi
Kurds
Kurds
were forced to leave their homes since both the Azeri and non- Yazidi
Yazidi
Kurds were Muslim. In 1920, two Kurdish-inhabited areas of Jewanshir (capital Kalbajar) and eastern Zangazur (capital Lachin) were combined to form the Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Okrug (or "Red Kurdistan"). The period of existence of the Kurdish administrative unit was brief and did not last beyond 1929. Kurds
Kurds
subsequently faced many repressive measures, including deportations, imposed by the Soviet government. As a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many Kurdish areas have been destroyed and more than 150,000 Kurds
Kurds
have been deported since 1988 by separatist Armenian forces.[206] Diaspora Main articles: Kurds
Kurds
in Germany, Kurds
Kurds
in France, Kurds
Kurds
in the Netherlands, Kurds
Kurds
in Sweden, Kurds
Kurds
in Russia, Kurds
Kurds
in the United Kingdom, Kurds
Kurds
in Canada, Kurds
Kurds
in the United States, Kurds
Kurds
in Australia, Kurdish Jews
Kurdish Jews
in Israel, and Kurds
Kurds
in Japan

Hamdi Ulukaya, Kurdish-American billionaire, founder and CEO of Chobani.

According to a report by the Council of Europe, approximately 1.3 million Kurds
Kurds
live in Western Europe. The earliest immigrants were Kurds
Kurds
from Turkey, who settled in Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries, Great Britain, Switzerland
Switzerland
and France
France
during the 1960s. Successive periods of political and social turmoil in the region during the 1980s and 1990s brought new waves of Kurdish refugees, mostly from Iran
Iran
and Iraq
Iraq
under Saddam Hussein, came to Europe.[89] In recent years, many Kurdish asylum seekers from both Iran
Iran
and Iraq
Iraq
have settled in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
(especially in the town of Dewsbury
Dewsbury
and in some northern areas of London), which has sometimes caused media controversy over their right to remain.[207] There have been tensions between Kurds
Kurds
and the established Muslim
Muslim
community in Dewsbury,[208][209] which is home to very traditional mosques such as the Markazi. Since the beginning of the turmoil in Syria
Syria
many of the refugees of the Syrian Civil War are Syrian Kurds
Syrian Kurds
and as a result many of the current Syrian asylum seekers in Germany
Germany
are of Kurdish descent.[210][211] There was substantial immigration of ethnic Kurds
Kurds
in Canada
Canada
and the United States, who are mainly political refugees and immigrants seeking economic opportunity. According to a 2011 Statistics Canada household survey, there were 11,685 people of Kurdish ethnic background living in Canada,[20] and according to the 2011 Census, 10,325 Canadians spoke Kurdish language.[212] In the United States, Kurdish immigrants started to settle in large numbers in Nashville in 1976,[213] which is now home to the largest Kurdish community in the United States
United States
and is nicknamed Little Kurdistan.[214] Kurdish population in Nashville is estimated to be around 11,000.[215] Total number of ethnic Kurds
Kurds
residing in the United States
United States
is estimated by the US Census Bureau
US Census Bureau
to be 15,400.[17] Other sources claim that there are 20,000 ethnic Kurds
Kurds
in the United States.[216] Religion As a whole, the Kurdish people are adherents to a large number of different religions and creeds, perhaps constituting the most religiously diverse people of West Asia. Traditionally, Kurds
Kurds
have been known to take great liberties with their practices. This sentiment is reflected in the saying "Compared to the unbeliever, the Kurd is a Muslim".[217] Islam Main articles: Islam
Islam
and Shafi

The Shahadah
Shahadah
- "I testify that there is no god (ilah) but (the) God (Allah)", the creed of Islam.

Today, the majority of Kurds
Kurds
are Sunni
Sunni
Muslim, belonging to the Shafi school. The Kurdish following of the Shafi
Shafi
legal code has caused some tension when pushed up against Sunni
Sunni
Turks and Sunni
Sunni
Arabs
Arabs
who subscribe to the Hanafi
Hanafi
legal code. The majority of Sunni Muslim
Sunni Muslim
Kurds
Kurds
belonging to the Shafi
Shafi
school speak the Northern Kurdish
Northern Kurdish
(Kurmanji) dialect.[218] There is also a significant minority of Kurds
Kurds
who are Shia
Shia
Muslims, primarily living in the Ilam, Kermanshah
Kermanshah
and Khorasan provinces of Iran, central and southeastern Iraq
Iraq
( Fayli
Fayli
Kurds) as well as Shia Kurds
Kurds
who are in Syria
Syria
and especially in Turkey.[89][219] Amongst Shia Muslim
Muslim
Kurdish communities, in particular the practitioners of Alevism in Anatolia, the Zaza language
Zaza language
is found more commonly.[218] Mystical
Mystical
practices and participation in Sufi
Sufi
orders are also widespread among Kurds,[220] with prominent Kurdish Sufi
Sufi
saints including Piryones.

The Zulfiqar, symbol for the Shia
Shia
Muslims and Alevis.

Alevism Main article: Alevism The Alevis (usually considered adherents of a branch of Shia
Shia
Islam with elements of Sufism) are another religious significant minority among the Kurds, living in Eastern Anatolia
Anatolia
in Turkey, meanwhile, it is estimated that 30% of Kurds
Kurds
in Turkey
Turkey
are Alevis.[221] Alevism developed out of the teachings of Haji Bektash Veli, a 13th-century mystic from Khorasan. Among the Qizilbash, the militant groups which predate the Alevis and helped establish the Safavid
Safavid
Dynasty, there were numerous Kurdish tribes. The American missionary Stephen van Renssalaer Trowbridge, working at Aintab (present Gaziantep) reported[222] that his Alevi
Alevi
acquaintances considered as their highest spiritual leaders an Ahl-i Haqq
Ahl-i Haqq
sayyid family in the Guran district.[223] Ahl-i Haqq
Ahl-i Haqq
(Yarsan) Main article: Yarsanism Ahl-i Haqq
Ahl-i Haqq
or Yarsanism
Yarsanism
is a syncretic religion founded by Sultan Sahak in the late 14th century in western Iran. Most of its adherents, estimated at around 500,000[224] or 1,000,000,[225] are found primarily in western Iran
Iran
and eastern Iraq
Iraq
and are mostly ethnic Goran Kurds,[226][227][228] though there are also smaller groups of Persian, Lori, Azeri and Arab adherents.[229] Its central religious text is the Kalâm-e Saranjâm, written in Gurani. In this text, the religion's basic pillars are summarized as: "The Yarsan should strive for these four qualities: purity, rectitude, self-effacement and self-abnegation".[230] The Yarsan faith's unique features include millenarism, nativism, egalitarianism, metempsychosis, angelology, divine manifestation and dualism. Many of these features are found in Yazidism, another Kurdish faith, in the faith of Zoroastrians and in ghulat (non-mainstream Shia) groups; certainly, the names and religious terminology of the Yarsan are often explicitly of Muslim
Muslim
origin. Unlike other indigenous Persianate faiths, the Yarsan explicitly reject class, caste and rank, which sets them apart from the Yazidis
Yazidis
and Zoroastrians.[231] The Ahl-i Haqq
Ahl-i Haqq
consider the Bektashi
Bektashi
and Alevi
Alevi
as kindred communities.[223] Yazidism Main articles: Yazidis
Yazidis
and Yazdânism

Yazidi
Yazidi
man in traditional clothes.

Yazidism
Yazidism
is another syncretic religion practiced among Kurdish communities, founded by Sheikh Adi ibn Musafir, a 12th-century mystic from Lebanon. Their numbers exceed 500,000, with some estimates numbering them at 1.2 million worldwide.[232][233][234] Its central religious texts are the Kitêba Cilwe and Meshaf Resh. According to Yazidi
Yazidi
beliefs, God created the world but left it in the care of seven holy beings or angels. The most prominent angel is Melek Taus (Kurdish: Tawûsê Melek), the Peacock Angel, God's representative on earth. Yazidis
Yazidis
believe in the periodic reincarnation of the seven holy beings in human form. Yazidis
Yazidis
who marry non-Yazidis are automatically considered to be converted to the religion of their spouse and therefore are not permitted to call themselves Yazidis.[235][236] They live primarily in the Nineveh
Nineveh
Province of Iraq. Their holiest shrine and the tomb of the faith's founder is located in Lalish, in northern Iraq.[237] Zoroastrianism Main article: Zoroastrianism

Faravahar
Faravahar
(or Ferohar), one of the primary symbols of Zoroastrianism, believed to be the depiction of a Fravashi (guardian spirit)

The Persian religion of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
had a major influence on the early Kurdish culture
Kurdish culture
and has maintained some effect since the demise of the religion in the Middle Ages. The Kurdish philosopher Sohrevardi drew heavily from Zoroastrian teachings.[238] Ascribed to the teachings of the prophet Zoroaster, the faith's Supreme Being
Supreme Being
is Ahura Mazda. Leading characteristics, such as messianism, the Golden Rule, heaven and hell, and free will influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple Judaism, Gnosticism, Christianity, and Islam.[239] In 2016, the first official Zoroastrian fire temple of Iraqi Kurdistan opened in Sulaymaniyah. Attendees celebrated the occasion by lighting a ritual fire and beating the frame drum or 'daf'.[240] Awat Tayib, the chief of followers of Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
in the Kurdistan
Kurdistan
region, claimed that many were returning to Zoroastrianism
Zoroastrianism
but some kept it secret out of fear of reprisals from Islamists.[240] Christianity Main articles: Kurdish Christians, Bible translations into Kurdish, and Christianity Although historically there have been various accounts of Kurdish Christians, most often these were in the form of individuals, and not as communities. However, in the 19th and 20th century various travel logs tell of Kurdish Christian tribes, as well as Kurdish Muslim tribes who had substantial Christian populations living amongst them. A significant number of these were allegedly originally Armenian or Assyrian,[241] and it has been recorded that a small number of Christian traditions have been preserved. Several Christian prayers in Kurdish have been found from earlier centuries.[242] Segments of the Bible were first made available in the Kurdish language in 1856 in the Kurmanji
Kurmanji
dialect. The Gospels were translated by Stepan, an Armenian employee of the American Bible Society
American Bible Society
and were published in 1857. Prominent historical Kurdish Christians include Theophobos[243][full citation needed][244][full citation needed] and the brothers Zakare and Ivane.[245][246][247] Culture

Flag of Kurdistan

Main articles: Kurdish culture
Kurdish culture
and Kurdish literature Kurdish culture
Kurdish culture
is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds
Kurds
and their society. As most other Middle Eastern populations, a high degree of mutual influences between the Kurds
Kurds
and their neighbouring peoples are apparent. Therefore, in Kurdish culture elements of various other cultures are to be seen. However, on the whole, Kurdish culture
Kurdish culture
is closest to that of other Iranian peoples, in particular those who historically had the closest geographical proximity to the Kurds, such as the Persians and Lurs. Kurds, for instance, also celebrate Newroz
Newroz
(March 21) as New Year's Day.[248] Education A madrasa system was used before the modern era.[249][250] Mele are Islamic clerics and instructors.[251] Women Main article: Kurdish women In general, Kurdish women's rights and equality have improved in the 20th and 21st century due to progressive movements within Kurdish society. However, despite the progress, Kurdish and international women's rights organizations still report problems related to gender equality, forced marriages, honor killings and in Iraqi Kurdistan
Kurdistan
also female genital mutilation (FGM).[252] In 1930s, Bedirkhan brothers (Kamuran Ali and Celadet) have promoted the myth of the uniqueness of Kurdish women
Kurdish women
and claimed that Kurdish women
Kurdish women
enjoy more freedom compared with Arab, Persian and Turkish women. A discredited myth was later propagated by other Kurdish nationalists, as well as some Western observers and activists.[253] Folklore
Folklore
and mythology

The fox; a widely recurring character in Kurdish tales

The Kurds
Kurds
possess a rich tradition of folklore, which, until recent times, was largely transmitted by speech or song, from one generation to the next. Although some of the Kurdish writers’ stories were well-known throughout Kurdistan; most of the stories told and sung were only written down in the 20th and 21st century. Many of these are, allegedly, centuries old. Widely varying in purpose and style, among the Kurdish folklore one will find stories about nature, anthropomorphic animals, love, heroes and villains, mythological creatures and everyday life. A number of these mythological figures can be found in other cultures, like the Simurgh
Simurgh
and Kaveh the Blacksmith
Kaveh the Blacksmith
in the broader Iranian Mythology, and stories of Shahmaran
Shahmaran
throughout Anatolia. Additionally, stories can be purely entertaining, or have an educational or religious aspect.[254] Perhaps the most widely reoccurring element is the fox, which, through cunningness and shrewdness triumphs over less intelligent species, yet often also meets his demise.[254] Another common theme in Kurdish folklore is the origin of a tribe. Storytellers would perform in front of an audience, sometimes consisting of an entire village. People from outside the region would travel to attend their narratives, and the storytellers themselves would visit other villages to spread their tales. These would thrive especially during winter, where entertainment was hard to find as evenings had to be spent inside.[254] Coinciding with the heterogeneous Kurdish groupings, although certain stories and elements were commonly found throughout Kurdistan, others were unique to a specific area; depending on the region, religion or dialect. The Kurdish Jews
Kurdish Jews
of Zakho
Zakho
are perhaps the best example of this; whose gifted storytellers are known to have been greatly respected throughout the region, thanks to a unique oral tradition.[255] Other examples are the mythology of the Yezidis,[256] and the stories of the Dersim Kurds, which had a substantial Armenian influence.[257] During the criminalization of the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
after the coup d’état of 1980, dengbêj (singers) and çîrokbêj (tellers) were silenced, and many of the stories had become endangered. In 1991, the language was decriminalized, yet the now highly available radios and TV’s had as an effect a diminished interest in traditional storytelling.[258] However, a number of writers have made great strides in the preservation of these tales. Weaving

Modern rug from Bijar

Kurdish weaving is renowned throughout the world, with fine specimens of both rugs and bags. The most famous Kurdish rugs are those from the Bijar
Bijar
region, in the Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Province. Because of the unique way in which the Bijar
Bijar
rugs are woven, they are very stout and durable, hence their appellation as the ‘Iron Rugs of Persia’. Exhibiting a wide variety, the Bijar
Bijar
rugs have patterns ranging from floral designs, medallions and animals to other ornaments. They generally have two wefts, and are very colorful in design.[259] With an increased interest in these rugs in the last century, and a lesser need for them to be as sturdy as they were, new Bijar
Bijar
rugs are more refined and delicate in design. Another well-known Kurdish rug is the Senneh rug, which is regarded as the most sophisticated of the Kurdish rugs. They are especially known for their great knot density and high quality mountain wool.[259] They lend their name from the region of Sanandaj. Throughout other Kurdish regions like Kermanshah, Siirt, Malatya
Malatya
and Bitlis
Bitlis
rugs were also woven to great extent.[260] Kurdish bags are mainly known from the works of one large tribe: the Jaffs, living in the border area between Iran
Iran
and Iraq. These Jaff bags share the same characteristics of Kurdish rugs; very colorful, stout in design, often with medallion patterns. They were especially popular in the West during the 1920s and 1930s.[261] Handicrafts

A Kurdish nobleman bearing a jambiya dagger

Outside of weaving and clothing, there are many other Kurdish handicrafts, which were traditionally often crafted by nomadic Kurdish tribes. These are especially well known in Iran, most notably the crafts from the Kermanshah
Kermanshah
and Sanandaj
Sanandaj
regions. Among these crafts are chess boards, talismans, jewelry, ornaments, weaponry, instruments etc. Kurdish blades include a distinct jambiya, with its characteristic I-shaped hilt, and oblong blade. Generally, these possess double-edged blades, reinforced with a central ridge, a wooden, leather or silver decorated scabbard, and a horn hilt, furthermore they are often still worn decoratively by older men. Swords were made as well. Most of these blades in circulation stem from the 19th century. Another distinct form of art from Sanandaj
Sanandaj
is 'Oroosi', a type of window where stylized wooden pieces are locked into each other, rather than being glued together. These are further decorated with coloured glass, this stems from an old belief that if light passes through a combination of seven colours it helps keep the atmosphere clean. Among Kurdish Jews
Kurdish Jews
a common practice was the making of talismans, which were believed to combat illnesses and protect the wearer from malevolent spirits. Tattoos Adorning the body with tattoos (deq in Kurdish) is widespread among the Kurds; even though permanent tattoos are not permissible in Sunni Islam. Therefore, these traditional tattoos are thought to derive from pre-Islamic times.[262] Tattoo
Tattoo
ink is made by mixing soot with (breast) milk and the poisonous liquid from the gall bladder of an animal. The design is drawn on the skin using a thin twig and is, by needle, penetrated under the skin. These have a wide variety of meanings and purposes, among which are protection against evil or illnesses; beauty enhancement; and the showing of tribal affiliations. Religious symbolism is also common among both traditional and modern Kurdish tattoos. Tattoos are more prevalent among women than among men, and were generally worn on feet, the chin, foreheads and other places of the body.[262][263] The popularity of permanent, traditional tattoos has greatly diminished among newer generation of Kurds. However, modern tattoos are becoming more prevalent; and temporary tattoos are still being worn on special occasions (such as henna, the night before a wedding) and as tribute to the cultural heritage.[262] Music and dance Main article: Kurdish music

Kurdish Musicians 1890.

Traditionally, there are three types of Kurdish classical performers: storytellers (çîrokbêj), minstrels (stranbêj), and bards (dengbêj). No specific music was associated with the Kurdish princely courts. Instead, music performed in night gatherings (şevbihêrk) is considered classical. Several musical forms are found in this genre. Many songs are epic in nature, such as the popular Lawiks, heroic ballads recounting the tales of Kurdish heroes such as Saladin. Heyrans are love ballads usually expressing the melancholy of separation and unfulfilled love, one of the first Kurdish female singers to sing heyrans is Chopy Fatah, while Lawje is a form of religious music and Payizoks are songs performed during the autumn. Love songs, dance music, wedding and other celebratory songs (dîlok/narînk), erotic poetry, and work songs are also popular. Throughout the Middle East, there are many prominent Kurdish artists. Most famous are Ibrahim Tatlises, Nizamettin Arıç, Ahmet Kaya
Ahmet Kaya
and the Kamkars. In Europe, well-known artists are Darin Zanyar, Sivan Perwer, and Azad. Cinema Main article: Kurdish cinema

Bahman Ghobadi
Bahman Ghobadi
at the presentation of his film Nobody Knows About Persian Cats in San Sebastián, 2009

The main themes of Kurdish Cinema are the poverty and hardship which ordinary Kurds
Kurds
have to endure. The first films featuring Kurdish culture were actually shot in Armenia. Zare, released in 1927, produced by Hamo Beknazarian, details the story of Zare and her love for the shepherd Seydo, and the difficulties the two experience by the hand of the village elder.[264] In 1948 and 1959, two documentaries were made concerning the Yezidi Kurds
Kurds
in Armenia. These were joint Armenian-Kurdish productions; with H. Koçaryan and Heciye Cindi teaming up for The Kurds
Kurds
of Soviet Armenia,[265] and Ereb Samilov and C. Jamharyan for Kurds
Kurds
of Armenia.[265] The first critically acclaimed and famous Kurdish films were produced by Yılmaz Güney. Initially a popular, award-winning actor in Turkey with the nickname Çirkin Kral (the Ugly King, after his rough looks), he spent the later part of his career producing socio-critical and politically loaded films. Sürü (1979), Yol
Yol
(1982) and Duvar (1983) are his best-known works, of which the second won Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
of 1982,[266] the most prestigious award in the world of cinema. Another prominent Kurdish film director is Bahman Qubadi. His first feature film was A Time for Drunken Horses, released in 2000. It was critically acclaimed, and went on to win multiple awards. Other movies of his would follow this example;[267] making him one of the best known film producers of Iran
Iran
of today. Recently, he released Rhinos Season, starring Behrouz Vossoughi, Monica Bellucci
Monica Bellucci
and Yilmaz Erdogan, detailing the tumultuous life of a Kurdish poet. Other prominent Kurdish film directors that are critically acclaimed include Mahsun Kırmızıgül, Hiner Saleem and the aforementioned Yilmaz Erdogan. There’s also been a number of films set and/or filmed in Kurdistan
Kurdistan
made by non-Kurdish film directors, such as the Wind Will Carry Us, Triage, The Exorcist, and The Market: A Tale of Trade. Sports

Eren Derdiyok, the most famous contemporary Kurdish footballer, striker for the Swiss national football team

The most popular sport among the Kurds
Kurds
is football. Because the Kurds have no independent state, they have no representative team in FIFA
FIFA
or the AFC; however a team representing Iraqi Kurdistan
Kurdistan
has been active in the Viva World Cup
Viva World Cup
since 2008. They became runners-up in 2009 and 2010, before ultimately becoming champion in 2012. On a national level, the Kurdish clubs of Iraq
Iraq
have achieved success in recent years as well, winning the Iraqi Premier League
Iraqi Premier League
four times in the last five years. Prominent clubs are Erbil SC, Duhok SC, Sulaymaniyah
Sulaymaniyah
FC and Zakho
Zakho
FC. In Turkey, a Kurd named Celal Ibrahim was one of the founders of Galatasaray S.K.
Galatasaray S.K.
in 1905, as well as one of the original players. The most prominent Kurdish-Turkish club is Diyarbakirspor. In the diaspora, the most successful Kurdish club is Dalkurd FF
Dalkurd FF
and the most famous player is Eren Derdiyok.[268] Another prominent sport is wrestling. In Iranian Wrestling, there are three styles originating from Kurdish regions:

Zhir-o-Bal (a style similar to Greco-Roman wrestling), practised in Kurdistan, Kermanshah
Kermanshah
and Ilam;[269] Zouran-Patouleh, practised in Kurdistan;[269] Zouran-Machkeh, practised in Kurdistan
Kurdistan
as well.[269]

Furthermore, the most accredited of the traditional Iranian wrestling styles, the Bachoukheh, derives its name from a local Khorasani Kurdish costume in which it is practised.[269] Kurdish medalists in the 2012 Summer Olympics
2012 Summer Olympics
were Nur Tatar,[270] Kianoush Rostami
Kianoush Rostami
and Yezidi Misha Aloyan;[271] who won medals in taekwondo, weightlifting and boxing, respectively. Architecture

The Marwanid
Marwanid
Dicle Bridge, Diyarbakir

The Krak des Chevaliers, originally a Kurdish dwelling place known as Hisn al-Akrad (Castle of the Kurds), west of Homs

The Citadel of Erbil

The traditional Kurdish village has simple houses, made of mud. In most cases with flat, wooden roofs, and, if the village is built on the slope of a mountain, the roof on one house makes for the garden of the house one level higher. However, houses with a beehive-like roof, not unlike those in Harran, are also present. Over the centuries many Kurdish architectural marvels have been erected, with varying styles. Kurdistan
Kurdistan
boasts many examples from ancient Iranic, Roman, Greek and Semitic origin, most famous of these include Bisotun
Bisotun
and Taq-e Bostan
Taq-e Bostan
in Kermanshah, Takht-e Soleyman
Takht-e Soleyman
near Takab, Mount Nemrud
Mount Nemrud
near Adiyaman and the citadels of Erbil and Diyarbakir. The first genuinely Kurdish examples extant were built in the 11th century. Those earliest examples consist of the Marwanid
Marwanid
Dicle Bridge in Diyarbakir, the Shadaddid Minuchir Mosque in Ani,[272] and the Hisn al Akrad near Homs.[273] In the 12th and 13th centuries the Ayyubid dynasty
Ayyubid dynasty
constructed many buildings throughout the Middle East, being influenced by their predecessors, the Fatimids, and their rivals, the Crusaders, whilst also developing their own techniques.[274] Furthermore, women of the Ayyubid
Ayyubid
family took a prominent role in the patronage of new constructions.[275] The Ayyubids’ most famous works are the Halil-ur-Rahman Mosque that surrounds the Pool of Sacred Fish in Urfa, the Citadel of Cairo[276] and most parts of the Citadel of Aleppo.[277] Another important piece of Kurdish architectural heritage from the late 12th/early 13th century is the Yezidi pilgrimage site Lalish, with its trademark conical roofs. In later periods too, Kurdish rulers and their corresponding dynasties and emirates would leave their mark upon the land in the form mosques, castles and bridges, some of which have decayed, or have been (partly) destroyed in an attempt to erase the Kurdish cultural heritage, such as the White Castle of the Bohtan Emirate. Well-known examples are Hosap Castle
Hosap Castle
of the 17th century,[278] Sherwana Castle
Sherwana Castle
of the early 18th century, and the Ellwen Bridge of Khanaqin
Khanaqin
of the 19th century. Most famous is the Ishak Pasha Palace
Ishak Pasha Palace
of Dogubeyazit, a structure with heavy influences from both Anatolian and Iranic architectural traditions. Construction of the Palace began in 1685, led by Colak Abdi Pasha, a Kurdish bey of the Ottoman Empire, but the building wouldn’t be completed until 1784, by his grandson, Ishak Pasha.[279][280] Containing almost 100 rooms, including a mosque, dining rooms, dungeons and being heavily decorated by hewn-out ornaments, this Palace has the reputation as being one of the finest pieces of architecture of the Ottoman Period, and of Anatolia. In recent years, the KRG has been responsible for the renovation of several historical structures, such as Erbil Citadel and the Mudhafaria Minaret.[281] Gallery

Mercier. Kurde (Asie) by Auguste Wahlen, 1843

Kurdish warriors by Amadeo Preziosi.

Armenian, Turkish and Kurdish females in their traditional clothes, 1873.

Zakho
Zakho
Kurds
Kurds
by Albert Kahn, 1910s.

A Kurdish woman from Kirkuk, 1922.

A Kurdish chief.

A Kurdish woman from Iran, Antoin Sevruguin.

A Kurdish man on horseback, Turkey, 1974.

A Kurdish man wearing traditional clothes, Arbil.

A Kurdish child from Mardin.

A Kurdish woman fighter from Rojava.

See also

Anatolian Kurds History of the Kurdish people Iranian Kurdistan Iraqi Kurdistan Khorasani Kurds Kurdish Christians Kurdish Jews Kurds
Kurds
in Georgia Kurds
Kurds
in Lebanon Kurds
Kurds
in Turkey List of Kurdish dynasties and countries List of Kurdish people List of Kurdish organisations National symbols of the Kurds Origins of the Kurds Syrian Kurdistan Turkish Kurdistan Zaza Kurds

Modern Kurdish-majority governments

Kingdom of Kurdistan
Kurdistan
(1920) Republic of Ararat
Ararat
(1927–1930) Republic of Mahabad
Republic of Mahabad
(1946) Kurdistan
Kurdistan
Regional Government (1991 to date) Democratic Federation of Northern Syria
Syria
(2013 to date)

References

^ a b c d e f g h i World Factbook (Online ed.). Langley, Virginia: US Central Intelligence Agency. 2015. ISSN 1553-8133. Retrieved 2 August 2015.  A rough estimate in this edition has populations of 14.3 million in Turkey, 8.2 million in Iran, about 5.6 to 7.4 million in Iraq, and less than 2 million in Syria, which adds up to approximately 28–30 million Kurds
Kurds
in Kurdistan
Kurdistan
or adjacient regions. CIA estimates are as of August 2015[update] – Turkey: Kurdish 18%, of 81.6 million; Iran: Kurd 10%, of 81.82 million; Iraq: Kurdish 15%-20%, of 37.01 million, Syria: Kurds, Armenians, and other 9.7%, of 17.01 million. ^ a b c d e f The Kurdish Population by the Kurdish Institute of Paris, 2017 estimate. The Kurdish population
Kurdish population
is estimated at 15-20 million in Turkey. 10-12 million in Iran. 8-8.5 million in Iraq. 3-3.6 million in Syria. 1.2-1.5 million in the European diaspora. And 400k-500k in the former USSR. For a total of 36.4 million to 45. 6 million globally. ^ "Camps built in Germany, Austria
Austria
to win new members for PKK, reports reveal". Zaman. 9 August 2012. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2012.  ^ "3 Kurdish women
Kurdish women
political activists shot dead in Paris". CNN. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 9 June 2014.  ^ "Sweden". Ethnologue. 2015. Retrieved 14 January 2015.  ^ Highway to Hell: Dutch biker gang prepare to take on Islamic State by Jerry Lawton, Daily Star, October 2014 ^ "The Kurdish Diaspora". Institut Kurde de Paris. Retrieved 9 June 2014.  ^ "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 г. Национальный состав населения Российской Федерации". Demoscope.ru. Archived from the original on 30 May 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.  ^ "QS211EW – Ethnic group
Ethnic group
(detailed)". NOMISweb.co.uk. UK Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 3 August 2013.  ^ Численность населения Республики Казахстан по отдельным этносам на начало 2014 года ЭТНОДЕМОГРАФИЧЕСКИЙ ЕЖЕГОДНИК КАЗАХСТАНА 2014 ^ "Information from the 2011 Armenian National Census" (PDF). Statistics of Armenia
Armenia
(in Armenian). Retrieved 27 May 2014.  ^ "Switzerland". Ethnologue. Retrieved 14 January 2015.  ^ "Fakta: Kurdere i Danmark". Jyllandsposten (in Danish). 8 May 2006. Retrieved 24 December 2013.  ^ Al-Khatib, Mahmoud A.; Al-Ali, Mohammed N. "Language and Cultural Shift Among the Kurds
Kurds
of Jordan" (PDF). p. 12. Retrieved 10 November 2012.  ^ "Austria". Ethnologue. Retrieved 14 January 2015.  ^ "Greece". Ethnologue. Retrieved 14 January 2015.  ^ a b "2006–2010 American Community Survey Selected Population Tables". FactFinder2.Census.gov. Washington, DC: US Census Bureau. Retrieved 5 August 2013.  ^ http://geostat.ge/cms/site_images/_files/english/population/Census_release_ENG_2016.pdf ^ "Number of resident population by selected nationality" (PDF). UNStats.UN.org. United Nations. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.  ^ a b "2011 National Household Survey: Data tables". StatCan.GC.ca. Statistics Canada. Retrieved 19 January 2013.  ^ "Language according to age and sex by region 1990–2014". Stat.fi. Statistics Finland. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 January 2013.  ^ The People of Australia: Statistics from the 2011 census (PDF). Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. 2014. ISBN 978-1-920996-23-9. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.  ^ Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
2014. 2015. p. 80.  Bakı.[clarification needed] ^ Killing of Iraq
Iraq
Kurds
Kurds
'genocide', BBC, "The Dutch court said it considered legally and convincingly proven that the Kurdish population meets requirement under Genocide Conventions as an ethnic group'." ^ Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland, (2014), by Ofra Bengio, University of Texas Press ^ "Kurds". The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Encyclopedia.com. 2014. Retrieved 29 December 2014.  ^ Izady, Mehrdad R. (1992). The Kurds: A Concise Handbook. Taylor & Francis. p. 198. ISBN 978-0-8448-1727-9.  ^ Bois, T.; Minorsky, V.; MacKenzie, D. N. (2009). "Kurds, Kurdistan". In Bearman, P.; Bianquis, T.; Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E.; Heinrichs, W. P. Encyclopaedia Islamica. Brill. The Kurds, an Iranian people of the Near East, live at the junction of more or less laicised Turkey."... We thus find that about the period of the Arab conquest a single ethnic term Kurd (plur. Akrād) was beginning to be applied to an amalgamation of Iranian or iranicised tribes. ... The classification of the Kurds
Kurds
among the Iranian nations is based mainly on linguistic and historical data and does not prejudice the fact there is a complexity of ethnical elements incorporated in them.  ^ Based on arithmetic from World Factbook and other sources cited herein: A Near Eastern population of 28–30 million, plus approximately a 2 million diaspora gives 30–32 million. If the highest (25%) estimate for the Kurdish population
Kurdish population
of Turkey, in Mackey (2002), proves correct, this would raise the total to around 37 million. ^ a b c Paul, Ludwig (2008). "Kurdish Language". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2 December 2011.  Writes about the problem of attaining a coherent definition of "Kurdish language" within the Northwestern Iranian dialect continuum. There is no unambiguous evolution of Kurdish from Middle Iranian, as "from Old and Middle Iranian times, no predecessors of the Kurdish language
Kurdish language
are yet known; the extant Kurdish texts may be traced back to no earlier than the 16th century CE." Ludwig Paul further states: "Linguistics itself, or dialectology, does not provide any general or straightforward definition of at which point a language becomes a dialect (or vice versa). To attain a fuller understanding of the difficulties and questions that are raised by the issue of the 'Kurdish language,' it is therefore necessary to consider also non-linguistic factors." ^ Geographic distribution of Kurdish and other Iranic languages Archived 18 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine. ^ "Kurdish Nationalism
Nationalism
and Competing Ethnic Loyalties", Original English version of: "Nationalisme kurde et ethnicités intra-kurdes", Peuples Méditerranéens no. 68–69 (1994), 11–37. Excerpt: "This view was criticised by the linguist D. N. MacKenzie, according to whom there are but few linguistic features that all Kurdish dialects have in common and that are not at the same time found in other Iranian languages." ^ G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran
Iran
and the Caucasus, Vol.13, pp. 1–58, 2009: "The classification of the Kurdish dialects is not an easy task, despite the fact that there have been numerous attempts mostly by Kurdish authors to put them into a system. However, for the time being the commonly accepted classification of the Kurdish dialects is that of the late Prof. D. N. Mackenzie, the author of fundamental works in Kurdish dialectology (see Mackenzie 1961; idem 1961–1962; idem 1963a; idem 1981), who distinguished three groups of dialects: Northern, Central, and Southern." ^ Nodar Mosaki (14 March 2012). "The zazas: a kurdish sub-ethnic group or separate people?". Zazaki.net. Retrieved 11 August 2015.  ^ "Iranian languages". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2017-06-12.  ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip (1992). "On the Kurdish Language", in The Kurds: a contemporary overview, eds. Philip Kreyenbroek and Stefan Sperl (p. 69). ^ a b Mackey, Sandra (2002). The Reckoning: Iraq
Iraq
and the Legacy of Saddam. W.W. Norton and Co. p. 350. As much as 25% of Turkey
Turkey
is Kurdish  This would raise the population estimate by about 5 million.[dubious – discuss] ^ Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (9 March 2012). "Background Note: Syria". State.gov. Washington, DC: US State Department. Archived from the original on 17 October 2012. Retrieved 2 August 2015.  The CIA World Factbook
CIA World Factbook
reports all non- Arabs
Arabs
make up 9.7% of the Syrian population, but does not break out the Kurdish figure separately. However, this State Dept. source provides a figure of 9%. As of August 2015[update], the current document at this state.gov URL no longer provides such ethnic group data. ^ Hassanpour, Amir (7 November 1995). "A Stateless Nation's Quest for Sovereignty in the Sky". Concordia University. Archived from the original on 20 August 2007. Retrieved 3 August 2015.  Paper presented at the Freie Universitat Berlin. For the figure, cites: McDowall, David (1992). "The Kurds: A Nation Denied". London: Minority Rights Group.  ^ "The Kurds
Kurds
of Caucasia and Central Asia
Central Asia
have been cut off for a considerable period of time and their development in Russia
Russia
and then in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
has been somewhat different. In this light the Soviet Kurds
Kurds
may be considered to be an ethnic group in their own right." The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
"Kurds". Institute of Estonia (EKI). Institute of Estonia (EKI). Retrieved 22 June 2012.  ^ Ismet Chériff Vanly, "The Kurds
Kurds
in the Soviet Union", in: Philip G. Kreyenbroek & S. Sperl (eds.), The Kurds: A Contemporary Overview (London: Routledge, 1992), p. 164: Table based on 1990 estimates: Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan
(180,000), Armenia
Armenia
(50,000), Georgia (40,000), Kazakhstan (30,000), Kyrgyzstan
Kyrgyzstan
(20,000), Uzbekistan (10,000), Tajikistan (3,000), Turkmenistan (50,000), Siberia (35,000), Krasnodar (20,000), Other (12,000) (total 410,000). ^ "The Name Kurd and its Philological Connexions". Retrieved 22 June 2016.  ^ Incorporated, Facts On File. Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East. Infobase Publishing. ISBN 9781438126760. Retrieved 30 January 2017.  ^ Reynolds, G. S. (2004). "A Reflection on Two Qurʾānic Words (Iblīs and Jūdī), with Attention to the Theories of A. Mingan". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 124: 675– 689.  ^ Fabbri, Giampietro (2017). "SUPARSTHAS and SWAGWAUTAS Colonisers of the Ancient World. Part I: Origins and early migrations". Journal of Ancient History and Archaeology. 4: 6, 16. ISSN 2360-266X.  ^ Barbara A. West (1 January 2009). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania. Infobase Publishing. p. 518. ISBN 978-1-4381-1913-7.  ^ Frye, Richard Nelson. "IRAN v. PEOPLES OF IRAN (1) A General Survey". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 2016-03-04.  ^ Ofra Bengio (15 November 2014). Kurdish Awakening: Nation Building in a Fragmented Homeland. University of Texas Press. p. 87. ISBN 978-0-292-75813-1.  ^ Kreyenbroek, P.G. (2000). The Kurds: A contemporary overview. Routledge. p. 54. ISBN 0415072654.  ^ G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran
Iran
and the Caucasus, Vol.13, pp.1-58, 2009. (p.21) ^ D. N. MacKenzie (1961). "The Origins of Kurdish". Transactions of the Philological Society: 68–86.  ^ Gershevitch, I. (1985). The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 2. Cambridge University Press. p. 257. ISBN 9780521200912.  ^ Schmitt, Rüdiger (15 December 1993). "CYRTIANS". Iranica Online.  ^ Martin van Bruinessen, "The ethnic identity of the Kurds," in: Ethnic groups in the Republic of Turkey, compiled and edited by Peter Alford Andrews with Rüdiger Benninghaus [=Beihefte zum Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients, Reihe B, Nr.60]. Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwich Reichert, 1989, pp. 613–21. excerpt: "The ethnic label "Kurd" is first encountered in Arabic
Arabic
sources from the first centuries of the Islamic era; it seemed to refer to a specific variety of pastoral nomadism, and possibly to a set of political units, rather than to a linguistic group: once or twice, " Arabic
Arabic
Kurds" are mentioned. By the 10th century, the term appears to denote nomadic and/or transhumant groups speaking an Iranian language and mainly inhabiting the mountainous areas to the South of Lake Van
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and Lake Urmia, with some offshoots in the Caucasus. ... If there was a Kurdish-speaking subjected peasantry at that time, the term was not yet used to include them.""Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 October 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.  ^ A. Safrastian, Kurds
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of Iraq: Ethnonationalism and National Identity in Iraqi Kurdistan. London: Tauris Academic Studies. p. 4. ISBN 978-1-84885-546-5. The Kurds
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and the Caucasus. 13. pp. 1–58. Generally, the etymons and primary meanings of tribal names or ethnonyms, as well as place names, are often irrecoverable; Kurd is also an obscurity  ^ Reynolds, G. S. (October–December 2004). "A Reflection on Two Qurʾānic Words (Iblīs and Jūdī), with Attention to the Theories of A. Mingana". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 124 (4): 683, 684, 687.  ^ Ilya Gershevitch, William Bayne Fisher, The Cambridge History of Iran: The Median and Achamenian Periods, 964 pp., Cambridge University Press, 1985, ISBN 0-521-20091-1, ISBN 978-0-521-20091-2, (see footnote of p.257) ^ G. Asatrian, Prolegomena to the Study of the Kurds, Iran
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dspace.library.uu.nl ^ Bruinessen, Martin (1998). "Zeynelabidin Zinar, Medrese education in Northern Kurdistan". Islam
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Further reading

Samir Amin
Samir Amin
(October 2016). The Kurdish Question Then and Now, in Monthly Review, Volume 68, Issue 05 A People Without a State: The Kurds
Kurds
from the Rise of Islam
Islam
to the Dawn of Nationalism, by Michael Eppel, 2016, University of Texas Press

Historiography

Maxwell, Alexander; Smith, Tim (2015). "Positing 'not-yet-nationalism': limits to the impact of nationalism theory on Kurdish historiography". Nationalities Papers. 43 (5): 771–787. doi:10.1080/00905992.2015.1049135. 

Sources

Aslanian, Sebouh (2011). From the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean: The Global Trade Networks of Armenian Merchants from New Julfa. California: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0520947573.  Blow, David (2009). Shah
Shah
Abbas: The Ruthless King Who Became an Iranian Legend. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-0857716767.  Bournoutian, George (2002). A Concise History of the Armenian People: (from Ancient Times to the Present) (2 ed.). Mazda Publishers. p. 208. ISBN 978-1568591414.  Floor, Willem; Herzig, Edmund (2012). Iran
Iran
and the World in the Safavid
Safavid
Age. I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1850439301.  Barth, F. 1953. Principles of Social Organization in Southern Kurdistan. Bulletin of the University Ethnographic Museum 7. Oslo. Hansen, H.H. 1961. The Kurdish Woman's Life. Copenhagen. Ethnographic Museum Record 7:1–213. Leach, E.R. 1938. Social and Economic Organization of the Rowanduz Kurds. London
London
School of Economics Monographs on Social Anthropology 3:1–74. Longrigg, S.H. 1953. Iraq, 1900–1950. London. Masters, W.M. 1953. Rowanduz. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Michigan. McKiernan, Kevin. 2006. The Kurds, a People in Search of Their Homeland. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-0-312-32546-6 Mikaberidze, Alexander (2015). Historical Dictionary of Georgia (2 ed.). Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1442241466.  Matthee, Rudi. "ŠAYḴ-ʿALI KHAN ZANGANA". Encyclopaedia Iranica. 

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kurdish people.

Kurds, Encyclopædia Britannica. Kurd, Encyclopædia Britannica. The Kurds: People without a country, Encyclopædia Britannica. The Kurdish Institute of Paris Kurdish language, history, books and latest news articles. The Encyclopaedia of Kurdistan Istanbul
Istanbul
Kurdish Institute The Kurdish Center of International Pen Kurdish Library, supported by the Swedish Government. Ethnic Cleansing and the Kurds The Kurds
Kurds
in the Ottoman Hungary by Zurab Aloian "The Other Iraq" Kurdish Information Website

The Kurdish Issue in Turkey

A report on the Kurdish IDP's – 2005 A German newspaper's take on the Kurdish issue – 2005 The Guardian – What's in a name? Too much in Turkey
Turkey
– 2001

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