Kurdish people

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Saladin • Ahmad Xani • Sherefxan Bitlisi • Feleknas Uca • Jalal Talabani
Total population

ca. 37 million

Regions with significant populations
   Turkey 11.4 million to 17.5 million [1], [2][3][4][5][6]
   Iran 4.8-7 million [7][6]
   Iraq 4 to 6.5 million [8][6]
   Syria 1.6 million [9]
   Afghanistan 200,000 [10]
   Azerbaijan 150,000 [10]
   Israel 100,000 [11]
   Germany 500,000 -800,000 [10] [12]
   France 120,000 [12]
   United Kingdom 100,000 [13]
In its different forms: Sorani, Kurmanji , and Fayli Southern dialects
Predominantly Sunni Muslim
also some Shia, Yazidism, Yarsan, Judaism, Christianity
Related ethnic groups
other Iranian peoples
(Talysh · Baluch · Gilak · Lurs · Persians)

The Kurds (Kurdish: کورد / Kurd) are an Iranian-speaking ethnolinguistic group mostly inhabiting a region known as Kurdistan, which includes adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Substantial Kurdish communities also exist in the cities of western Turkey, and they can also be found in Lebanon, Armenia, Azerbaijan and, in recent decades, some European countries and the United States (see Kurdish diaspora). They speak Kurdish, an Indo-European language of the Iranian branch.



The Kurdish language belongs to the north-western sub-group of the Iranian languages, which in turn belongs to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European family. The older Hurrian language of the people inhabiting the Kurdish areas was replaced by Indo-European around 850 BCE, with the arrival of the Medes to Western Iran.[14]

Most Kurds are bilingual or polylingual, speaking the languages of the surrounding peoples such as Arabic, Turkish and Persian as a second language. Kurdish Jews and some Kurdish Christians (not be confused with ethnic Assyrians of Kurdistan) usually speak Aramaic (for example: Lishana Deni) as their first language. Aramaic is a Semitic language related to Hebrew and Arabic rather than Kurdish.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, The Kurdish language has two main groups::[15]

and several sub-dialects:

  • Kermanshahi
  • Leki
  • Gurani
  • Zaza

Although specialized sources consider Zaza-Gurani[16][17] to be separate languages which share a large number of words with Kurdish and Luri Nevertheless, the general term Kurd has been used to designate these groups historically.

Commenting on the differences between the "dialects" of Kurdish, Kreyenbroek clarifies that in some ways, Kurmanji and Sorani are as different from each other as English and German, giving the example that Kurmanji has grammatical gender and case-endings, but Sorani does not, and observing that referring to 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."[18]


Country Estimated number
Turkey 15,300,000[19]
Iran 5,000,000[20]
Iraq 5,500,000[21]
Syria 1,600,000[22]
Kuwait 233,500[23]
Azerbaijan 200,000[24]
Lebanon 80,000[25]
Armenia 95,000[25]
Georgia 40,000[25]
Subtotal Middle East 27 million
Germany 500,000 - 600,000[25]
France 100,000 - 120,000[25]
Netherlands 70,000 - 80,000[25]
Switzerland 60,000 - 70,000[25]
Belgium 50,000 - 60,000[25]
Austria 50,000 - 60,000[25]
other Europen countries 80,000 - 100,000[25]
North America 21,800 - 27,000[25]
Total 28 million

The number of Kurds living in Southwest Asia is estimated at around 27 million, with another million living in diaspora. Kurds are the fourth largest ethnicity in the Middle East after Arabs, Persians and Turks.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Kurds comprise 20% of the population in Turkey, 15-20% in Iraq, perhaps 8% in Syria,[26] 7% in Iran and 1.3% in Armenia. In all of these countries except Iran, Kurds form the second largest ethnic group. Roughly 55% of the world's Kurds live in Turkey, about 20% each in Iran and Iraq, and a bit over 5% in Syria.[27]

McDowall has estimated that in 1991 the Kurds comprised 19% of the population in Turkey, 23% in Iraq, 10% in Iran, and 8% in Syria. The total number of Kurds in 1991 was in this estimate placed at 22.5 million, with 48% of this number living in Turkey, 18% in Iraq, 24% in Iran, and 4% in Syria.[28]



Kurdish costumes, 1873.

The independent Kardouchoi or Carduchi are thought to have been the ancestors of the Kurds, or at least the original nucleus of the Iranian-speaking people in what is now Kurdistan.[29] They opposed the retreat of the Ten Thousand through the mountains in the 4th century BCE. However multiple other groups (including many non-Indo-European tribes) are believed to have settled in Kurdistan, over a period of thousands of years. Early cultures included the Halaf and Ubaid. The Hurrian period in the mid third millennium BCE is the earliest well-documented period. The 3rd millennium was the time of the Guti (Kurti) and Hattians. The 2nd and 1st millennium BCE were the time of the Kassites, Mitanni, Mannai (Mannaeans), Urartu, and Mushku. All of these peoples shared a common identity and spoke one language or closely related languages or dialects. These groups are thought to have been non-Indo-Europeans, apart from the original Mitanni [30].

The Median Empire was dominant over present-day Kurdistan from the 630s BCE to 550 BCE, and by the end of fifth century BCE, during the reign of Artaxerxes II, the Carduchi had achieved independence from the Persian Empire.[31] According to Xenophon, Carduchis even defeated a large Persian army sent against them and at times concluded treaties with Persian satraps.[32] Other ancient groups included the Mard, Adiabene, Zila and Khaldi. The conjecture that the Kurds are descendants of the Medes has been challenged on linguistic grounds.[33][dubious ]

Medieval period

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

In the seventh century, the Arabs possessed the castles and fortifications of the Kurds. The conquest of the cities of Sharazor and Aradbaz took place in 643 CE. In 846 CE, one of the leaders of the Kurds in Mosul revolted against the Caliph Al Mo'tasam who sent the commander Aitakh to combat against him. Aitakh won this war and killed many of the Kurds. The Kurds revolted again in 903 CE, during the period of Almoqtadar. Eventually Arabs conquered the Kurdish regions and gradually converted the majority of Kurds to Islam. In the second half of the tenth century, the Kurdish area was shared among four big Kurdish principalities. In the north were the Shaddadid (951–1174) in parts of present-day Armenia and Arran, and the Rawadid (955–1221) in Tabriz and Maragheh. In the east were the Hasanwayhids (959–1015) and the Annazid (990–1117) in Kermanshah, Dinawar and Khanaqin. In the west were the Marwanid (990–1096) of Diyarbakır. After these, the Ayyubid (1171–1250) of Syria and the Ardalan dynasty (14th century to 1867) were established in present-day Khanaqin, Kirkuk and Sinne.

Kurdish Communities in West Asia

In Iraq

Kurds make around 17% of Iraq's population. They are the majority in at least three provinces in northern Iraq which are together known as Iraqi Kurdistan. Kurds also have a presence in Kirkuk, Mosul, Khanaqin, and Baghdad. Around 300,000 Kurds live in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, 50,000 in the city of Mosul and around 100,000 elsewhere in southern Iraq.[34]

Kurdish Children in Sulaimaniyah

Kurds led by 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.[35] However, at the same time, the Iraqi regime started an Arabization program in the oil-rich regions of Kirkuk and Khanaqin.[36] 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 and Iran signed the Algiers Accord, according to which Iran cut supplies to Iraqi Kurds. Iraq started another wave of Arabization by moving Arabs to the oil fields in Kurdistan, particularly those around Kirkuk.[37] Between 1975 and 1978, 200,000 Kurds were deported to other parts of Iraq.[38]

During the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, the regime implemented anti-Kurdish policies and a de facto civil war broke out. 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 to southern and central Iraq. The campaign of Iraqi government against Kurds in 1988 was called Anfal ("Spoils of War"). The Anfal attacks led to destruction of two thousand villages and death of 50,000 to 100,000 Kurds.[39]

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

After the Kurdish uprising in 1991 (Kurdish: Raperîn) led by the PUK and KDP, Iraqi troops recaptured the Kurdish areas and hundreds of thousand of Kurds fled to the borders. To alleviate the situation, a "safe haven" was established by the UN Security Council. The autonomous Kurdish area was mainly controlled by the rival parties KDP and PUK. The Kurdish population welcomed the American troops in 2003 by holding celebrations and dancing in the streets[40][41][42][43]. The area controlled by peshmerga was expanded, and Kurds now have effective control in Kirkuk and parts of Mosul. By the beginning of 2006, the two Kurdish areas were merged into one unified region. A series of referendums are scheduled to be held in 2007, to determine the final borders of the Kurdish region.

In Turkey

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According to CIA Factbook, Kurds formed approximately 20% of the population in Turkey (approximately 14 million) in 2008.[2] In 1980, ethnologue estimated the number of Kurdish-speakers in Turkey at around five million,[44] when the country's population stood at 44 million.[45] 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. During the 1930s and 1940s, the government had disguised the presence of the Kurds statistically by categorizing them as Mountain Turks. This classification was changed to the new euphemism of Eastern Turk in 1980.[46]

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.[47] The Ararat revolt, which reached its apex in 1930, was only suppressed after a massive military campaign including destruction of many villages and their populations. In quelling the revolt, Turkey was assisted by the close cooperation of its neighboring states such as Soviet Union and Iran. The revolt was organized by a Kurdish party called Khoybun which signed a treaty with the Dashnaksutyun (Armenian Revolutionary Federation) in 1927.[48] By 1970s, Kurdish leftist organizations such as Kurdistan Socialist Part-Turkey (KSP-T) emerged in 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 in the local elections. At about the same time, generational fissures gave birth to two new organizations: the National Liberation of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Workers Party.[49]

Kurdish singer Hozan Canê from Erzurum, Turkey

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The Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK), also known as KADEK and Kongra-Gel, is considered by the US, the EU, and NATO to be a terrorist organization.[50] It is an ethnic secessionist organization using violence for the purpose of achieving its goal of creating an independent Kurdish state in parts of southeastern Turkey, northeastern Iraq, northeastern Syria and northwestern Iran.

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 to local defensible centers such as Diyarbakır, Van, and Şırnak, as well as to the cities of western Turkey and even to western Europe. The causes of the depopulation included PKK atrocities against Kurdish clans they could not control, the poverty of the southeast, and the Turkish state's military operations.[51]

Officially protected death squads are accused of disappearance of 3,200 Kurds 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 an Islamic extremist group called Hezbollah to assassinate suspected PKK members and often ordinary Kurds.[52] Azimet Köylüoğlu, the state minister of human rights, revealed the extent of security forces' excesses in autumn 1994:[53]

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.

In Iran

a view of Sanandaj, a major city in Iranian Kurdistan.

The Kurds constitute approximately 7% of Iran's overall population. The Persians, Kurds, and speakers of other Indo-European languages in Iran are descendants of the Aryan tribes that began migrating from Central Asia into what is now Iran in the 2nd millennium BCE.[54] According to some sources, "some Kurds in Iran have resisted the Iranian government's efforts, both before and after the revolution of 1979, to assimilate them into the mainstream of national life and, along with their fellow Kurds in adjacent regions of Iraq and Turkey, has sought either regional autonomy or the outright establishment of an independent Kurdish state".[54] While other sources state that "most of the freedoms Turkish Kurds have been eager to spill blood over have been available in Iran for years; Iran constitutionally recognizes the Kurds' language and minority ethnic status, and there is no taboo against speaking Kurdish in public." .[55]

In the 17th century, a large number of Kurds were displaced by Shah Abbas I to Khorasan in Eastern Iran and resettled in the cities of Quchan and Birjand,due to Safavid Scorched earth policy, while others migrated to Afghanistan where they took refuge.[56] The Kurds of Khorasan, numbering around 700,000, still use the Kurmanji Kurdish dialect.[12][57] During the 19th and 20th centuries, successive Iranian governments crushed Kurdish revolts led by Kurdish notables such as Shaikh Ubaidullah (against Qajars in 1880) and Simko (against Pahlavis in the 1920s).[58]

In January 1946, during the Soviet occupation of north-western Iran, the Soviet-backed Kurdish Republic of Mahabad declared independence in parts of Iranian Kurdistan. Nevertheless, the Soviet forces left Iran in May 1946, and the self-declared republic fell to the Iranian army after only a few months and the president of the republic Qazi Muhammad was hanged publicly in Mahabad. After the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi became more autocratic and suppressed most opposition including Kurdish political groups seeking greater rights for Iranian Kurds. He also prohibited any teaching of the Kurdish language.[58]

After the Iranian revolution, intense fighting occurred between militant Kurdish groups and the Islamic Republic between 1979 and 1982. In August 1979, Ruhollah Khomeini declared a "holy war" against the Kurdish rebels seeking autonomy or independence, and ordered the Armed Forces to move to the Kurdish areas of Iran in order to push the Kurdish rebels out and restore central rule to the country.[59] An image of a firing squad of Revolutionary Guards executing Kurdish prisoners around Sanandaj gained international fame and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1980,and there is also other images available of Kurdish militants capturing the supporters of the Iranian regime.[60] The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps fought to reestablish government control in the Kurdish regions. Since 1983, the Iranian government has maintained control over the Iranian Kurdistan.[61] Frequent unrest and the occasional military crackdown have occurred since the 1990s.[62]

In Iran, Kurds express their cultural identity freely, but have no self-government or administration. As in all parts of Iran, membership of a non-governmental political party is punishable by imprisonment or even death. Kurdish human rights activists in Iran have been threatened by Iranian authorities in connection with their work.[63][64] Following the killing of Kurdish opposition activist Shivan Qaderi and two other Kurdish men by Iranian security forces in Mahabad on July 9, 2005, six weeks of riots and protests erupted in Kurdish towns and villages throughout Eastern Kurdistan. Scores were killed and injured, and an untold number arrested without charge. The Iranian authorities have also shut down several major Kurdish newspapers and arrested editors and reporters. Among those was Roya Toloui, a Women's rights activist and head of the Rasan ("Rising") newspaper in Sanandaj, who was alleged to be tortured for two months for involvement in the organization of peaceful protests throughout Kurdistan province.[65] According to one of Iran analysts of International Crisis Group, "Kurds, who live in the some of the least developed parts of Iran, pose the most serious internal problem for Iran to resolve, and given what they see next door--the newfound confidence of Iraqi Kurds--there's concern Iranian Kurds will agitate for greater autonomy."[66]

In Syria

A statue of Saladin at the Damascus citadel.

Kurds account for 9% of Syria's population, a total of around 1.6 million people.[67] 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 often speak Kurdish in public, unless all those present do not. Kurdish human rights activists are mistreated and persecuted.[68] No political parties are allowed for any group, Kurdish or otherwise.

Techniques used to suppress the ethnic identity of 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 names, the prohibition of Kurdish private schools, and the prohibition of books and other materials written in Kurdish.[69][70] Having been denied the right to Syrian nationality, around three-hundred thousand Kurds have been deprived of any social rights, in violation of international law.[71][72] As a consequence, these Kurds are in effect trapped within Syria.[69] In February 2006, however, sources reported that Syria was now planning to grant these Kurds citizenship.[72]

On March 12, 2004, beginning at a stadium in Qamishli (a largely Kurdish city in northeastern Syria), clashes between 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 and Aleppo.[73][74]

In Afghanistan

Kurds had been living in regions bordering modern day Afghanistan since the 1500s notably in north eastern Iran where the Safavid ruler Shah Abbas exiled thousands of Kurds.[75] Many of those who were exiled ultimately made their way into Afghanistan, taking residence in Herat and other cities of western Afghanistan. The Kurdish colony in Afghanistan numbered some tens of thousands during the 16th century.[56] Some Kurds held high governmental positions within Afghanistan, such as Ali Mardan Khan who was appointed the governor of Kabul in 1641.[76] The Kurds devotedly sided with the Afghans during their conflicts with the Safavid Empire, and in their subsequent conflicts with other regional powers.[77] The number of Kurds currently in Afghanistan is difficult to calculate, though one figure notes that there are approximately 200,000.[10] It remains unclear however whether the Kurds of Afghanistan have retained the Kurdish language.

In Armenia

Between the 1930s and 1980s, Armenia was a part of the Soviet Union, within which Kurds, like other ethnic groups, had the status of a protected minority. Armenian Kurds were permitted their own state-sponsored newspaper, radio broadcasts and cultural events. During the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many non-Yazidi Kurds were forced to leave their homes. Following the end of the Soviet Union, Kurds in Armenia were stripped of their cultural privileges and most fled to Russia or Western Europe.[78]

In Azerbaijan

In 1920, two Kurdish-inhabited areas of Jewanshir (capital Kalbajar) and eastern Zangazur (capital Lachin) were combined to form the Kurdistan Okrug (or "Red Kurdistan"). The period of existence of the Kurdish administrative unit was brief and did not last beyond 1929. Kurds subsequently faced many repressive measures, including deportations. As a result of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, many Kurdish areas have been destroyed and more than 150,000 Kurds have been deported since 1988.[78]


According to a report by the Council of Europe, approximately 1.3 million Kurds live in Western Europe. The earliest immigrants were Kurds from Turkey, who settled in Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries, Great Britain, Switzerland and France during the 1960s. Successive periods of political and social turmoil in the Middle East during 1980s and 1990s brought new waves of Kurdish refugees, mostly from Iran and Iraq under Saddam Hussein, came to Europe.[12] In recent years, many Kurdish asylum seekers from both Iran and Iraq have settled in the United Kingdom (especially in the town of Dewsbury and in some northern areas of London), which has sometimes caused media controversy over their right to remain.[79] There have been tensions between Kurds and the established Muslim community in Dewsbury,[80][81] which is home to very traditional mosques such as the Markazi.

There was substantial immigration of Kurds into North America, who are mainly political refugees and immigrants seeking economic opportunity. An estimated 100,000 Kurds are known to live in the United States, with 50,000 in Canada and less than 15,000 in Australia.


An Ezidi temple in Lalish, Kurdistan.


Today, the majority of Kurds are officially Muslim, belonging to the Shafi school of Sunni Islam. Mystical practices and participation in Sufi orders are also widespread among Kurds.[82] There is also a minority of Kurds who are Shia Muslims, primarily living in the Ilam and Kermanshah provinces of Iran, Central and south eastern Iraq (Fayli Kurds).


The Alevis are another religious minority among the Kurds. They are mainly living in Tunceli, Turkey and surrounding towns.


Yazdanism is a controversial theory that refers to a group of native monotheistic religions practiced among the Kurds: Alevism, Yarsan and Yazidism. The main element in Yazdani faiths is the belief in seven angelic entities that protect the world, therefore these traditions are named as Cult of Angels.[83] Some groups classify the various Kurdish faiths under the Yazdani umbrella.

The original religion of the Kurds was Yazidism, a religion greatly influenced by Jewish, Zoroastrian, Christian and Islamic beliefs.[82][84] However, there are significant differences between Yazdanism and Zoroasterianism, such as the belief in re-incarnation. Most Yazidis live in Iraqi Kurdistan, in the vicinity of Mosul and Sinjar.[85] The Yarsan (or Ahl-e Haqq) religion is practised in western Iran, primarily around Kermanshah.

Judaism and Christianity

Christianity and Judaism both are still practised in very small numbers.[86] Rabbi Asenath Barzani, who lived in Mosul from 1590 to 1670, was among the very first Jewish woman to become a rabbi. The overwhelming majority of the Kurdish Jews had immigrated to the Jewish State, Israel, during the early 1950s. For centuries, the Jews had lived as protected subjects of the tribal chieftains (aghas) and survived in the urban centers and villages in which they lived. In return for the protection granted by their aghas, the Jews would occasionally give them gifts, services and commissions of their commercial and agricultural transactions.[87]


Kurdish culture is a legacy from the various ancient peoples who shaped modern Kurds and their society, but primarily of three layers of indigenous (Hurrian), ancient Iranian (Medes), sumerian, and Islamic roots.

Kurdish culture is close to that of other Iranian peoples. Kurds, for instance, also celebrate Newroz (March 21) as New Year's Day.[88]

Kurdish films mainly evoke poverty and the lack of rights of Kurdish people in the region. Yılmaz Güney (Yol [89]) and Bahman Qubadi (A Time for Drunken Horses, Turtles Can Fly) are among the better-known Kurdish directors.


Bijan Kamkar singer and composer plays Robab

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, 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.

See also

Modern Kurdish governments

Notes and references

  1. ^ Konda Poll gives a figure of about 11.4 million, s.v. [1]
  2. ^ a b CIA World Factbook gives about 15.3 million (20% Kurds out of 76.8 million total population) (2008 est.)
  3. ^ Juvenile Nonfiction, “ The Handbook of Middle East ”, Publisher: 21st Century, 2002. pg 144:”About 20 percent of Turkey ’s population is Kurdish.”
  4. ^ Kemal Kirisci, Gareth M. Winrow, “The Kurdish Question and Turkey ”, Routledge, 1997. pg 119: “According to Turgut Ozal there were 12 million Kurds in Turkey . .. Van Bruissen has argued that a ‘reasonable and even conservative’ estimate for the size of Kurdish population in 1975 was 7.5 millions, which amounts to 19 percent of the population”
  5. ^ Sandra Mackey , “The reckoning: Iraq and the legacy of Saddam”, W.W. Norton and Company, 2002. Excerpt from pg 350: “As much as 25% of Turkey is Kurdish.”
  6. ^ a b c “Beverley Milton-Edwards, “Contemporary politics in the Middle East” Polity, 2006. pg 231: “They form a population in all four states, making 23 percent in Turkey, 23 percent in Iraq, 10 percent in Iran and 8 percent in Syria (Mcdowell, 2003, p 3-4).”
  7. ^ Estimate based on 7% of 68,688,433: World Factbook, s.v. Iran;
  8. ^ Estimate based on 15% to 20% of 26,783,383: World Factbook, s.v. Iraq; Encyclopedia of the Orient, s.v. Iraq: Religions and Peoples.
  9. ^ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/3580.htm
  10. ^ a b c d The Kurdish Diaspora, Institut Kurde de Paris (Paris: Institut Kurde de Paris, 2006), http://www.institutkurde.org/en/kurdorama/.
  11. ^ Lokman I. Meho, The Kurds and Kurdistan: A General Background, in Kurdish Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography. Comp. Lokman I. Meho & Kelly Maglaughlin (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001), p. 4, viewable on Google Books
  12. ^ a b c d The cultural situation of the Kurds, A report by Lord Russell-Johnston, Council of Europe, July 2006.
  13. ^ Kurds in the UK, BBC News 9 December 2008
  14. ^ The correlation Between Languages and Genes: The Usko-Mediterranean Peoples, Human Immunology, vol. 62, p.1057, 2001
  15. ^ Kurdish language. Encyclopædia Britannica.
  16. ^ Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl, "The Kurds", Published by Routledge, 1992.
  17. ^ McKenzie, D. N. (1961) ‘The origins of Kurdish’, in Transactions of the Philological Society: 68 - 86.
  18. ^ Kreyenbroek, Philip (1992). "On the Kurdish Language", in The Kurds: a contemporary overview, eds. Philip Kreyenbroek and Stefan Sperl (p. 69).
  19. ^ CIA factbook
  20. ^ CIA factbook
  21. ^ CIA factbook
  22. ^ US Department of State
  23. ^ worldstatesmen.org[unreliable source?]
  24. ^ khrp.org[unreliable source?]
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Kurdish Institute[unreliable source?]
  26. ^ The CIA Factbook reports all non-Arabs make up 9.7% of the Syrian population, and does not break out the Kurdish figure separately. Since Syria contains a large Armenian population, 8% may be a reasonable percentage.
  27. ^ CIA: The World Factbook
  28. ^ Amir Hassanpour, "A Stateless Nation's Quest for Sovereignty in the Sky", Paper presented at the Freie Universitat Berlin, 7 November 1995.
  29. ^ Ilya Gershevitch, William Bayne Fisher, The Cambridge History of Iran: The Median and Achamenian Periods, 964 pp., Cambridge University Press, 1985, ISBN 0521200911, 9780521200912, (see footnote of p.257)
  30. ^ "Mitanni." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 09 Jun. 2008 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/385882/Mitanni>
  31. ^ Carduchi, Encyclopedia Iranica.
  32. ^ Xenophon, Anabasis 3.5.16[2]
  33. ^ Philip G. Kreyenbroek, Stefan Sperl, The Kurds, Routledge, 1992, 250 pp., ISBN 0415072654, ISBN 9780415072656 (see p.70)
  34. ^ Adherents.com: By Location
  35. ^ G.S. Harris, Ethnic Conflict and the Kurds in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, pp.118-120, 1977
  36. ^ Introduction. Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds (Human Rights Watch Report, 1993).
  37. ^ ibid., p.121
  38. ^ M. Farouk-Sluglett, P. Sluglett, J. Stork, Not Quite Armageddon: Impact of the War on Iraq, MERIP Reports, July-September 1984, p.24
  39. ^ Genocide in Iraq: The Anfal Campaign Against the Kurds
  40. ^ http://www.newyorker.com/online/content/articles/031222on_onlineonly04
  41. ^ FOXNews.com - Kurds Rejoice, But Fighting Continues in North - U.S. & World
  42. ^ CNN.com - Coalition makes key advances in northern Iraq - April 10, 2003
  43. ^ The Scotsman
  44. ^ Ethnologue census of languages in Asian portion of Turkey
  45. ^ http://countrystudies.us/turkey/24.htm
  46. ^ Linguistic and Ethnic Groups in Turkey
  47. ^ H. Hannum, Autonomy, Sovereignty, and Self-determination, 534 pp., University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996, ISBN 0812215729, 9780812215724 (see page 186).
  48. ^ Reşat Kasaba, The Cambridge History of Turkey, 600 pp., Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 0521620961, 9780521620963 (see page 340)
  49. ^ Reşat Kasaba, The Cambridge History of Turkey, 600 pp., Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 0521620961, 9780521620963 (see page 348)
  50. ^ COUNCIL COMMON POSITION 2008/586/CFSP of 15 July 2008: updating Common Position 2001/931/CFSP on the application of specific measures to combat terrorism and repealing Common Position 2007/871/CFSP
  51. ^ Radu, Michael. (2001). "The Rise and Fall of the PKK", Orbis. 45(1):47-64.
  52. ^ J. C. Randal, After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness?, 356 pp., Westview Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8133-3580--9, p.258
  53. ^ J. C. Randal, After Such Knowledge, What Forgiveness?, 356 pp., Westview Press, 1999, ISBN 0-8133-3580-9, p.259
  54. ^ a b Iran: Ethnic Groups, Encyclopaedia Britannica.
  55. ^ Meet the Kurdish guerrillas who want to topple the Tehran regime. - By Graeme Wood - Slate Magazine
  56. ^ a b A People Without a Country: The Kurds and Kurdistan By Gérard Chaliand, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, Marco Pallis, pg. 205
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  61. ^ alefbe.com
  62. ^ Iran: Amnesty International calls for an urgent investigation into the killing of demonstrators.
  63. ^ Iran: Threats against Kurdish human rights defenders must stop
  64. ^ Status of minorities
  65. ^ Amnesty International
  66. ^ Iran's Waning Human Rights (The New York Times)
  67. ^ World Gazetteer
  68. ^ Syria: End persecution of human rights defenders and human rights activists.
  69. ^ a b Syria: The Silenced Kurds
  70. ^ Essential Background: Overview of human rights issues in Syria. Human Rights Watch, 31-12-2004.
  71. ^ Syria's Kurds Struggle for Rights
  72. ^ a b The Media Line
  73. ^ Syria: Address Grievances Underlying Kurdish Unrest
  74. ^ Serhildana 12ê Adarê ya Kurdistana Suriyê.
  75. ^ Knowledge, Culture, and Power: International Perspectives on Literacy as Policy and Practice By Peter Freebody, Anthony R. Welch, pg.40
  76. ^ The Encyclopaedia of Islam: Supplement : Fascicules 1-2, By Clifford Edmund Bosworth, E. Van Donzel, B. Lewis, pg. 63
  77. ^ The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah, from Tribal Warrior to Conquering Tyrant, By Michael Axworthy, pg. 88
  78. ^ a b Kurds and Kurdistan: A General Background, p.22
  79. ^ MP: Failed asylum seekers must go back - Dewsbury Reporter
  80. ^ 'I will not be muzzled' – Malik
  81. ^ UK Polling Report Election Guide: Dewsbury
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  • 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 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.

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