Ethiopians and Kurds Have No Friends But Mountains
Posted by addisethiopia on September 16, 2015
“The Kurds have no friends but the mountains” Old Kurdish expression.
Just like Ethiopians. Some current Kurdish flags match the Ethiopian tricolor – a horizontal tricolor with bands of yellow, red, and green. This is the same flag as that of the Movement for a Democratic Society (TEV-DEM), the political coalition governing Rojava. used as the flag of Rojava from c. 2012/3
The Kurds are one of the largest nations that has no state to call their own.
Over the past hundred years, the desire for an independent Kurdish state has created conflicts mainly with the Turkish and Iraqi populations in the areas where most of the Kurds live. This conflict has important geographical implications as well. The history of the Kurdish nation, the causes for these conflicts, and an analysis of the situation will be discussed in this paper.
History of the Kurds The Kurds are a Sunni Muslim people living primarily in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Between 25 and 35 million Kurds inhabit a mountainous region straddling the borders of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and Armenia.
The Kurds who make up the fourth-largest ethnic group in the Middle East have a distinct culture that is not at all like their Turkish, Persian, and Arab neighbors.
Where do the Kurds come from?
The Kurds are one of the indigenous people of the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands in what are now south-eastern Turkey, north-eastern Syria, northern Iraq, north-western Iran and south-western Armenia.
Why don’t they have a state?
In the early 20th Century, many Kurds began to consider the creation of a homeland – generally referred to as “Kurdistan”. After World War One and the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, the victorious Western allies made provision for a Kurdish state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres.
Such hopes were dashed three years later, however, when the Treaty of Lausanne, which set the boundaries of modern Turkey, made no provision for a Kurdish state and left Kurds with minority status in their respective countries. Over the next 80 years, any move by Kurds to set up an independent state was brutally quashed.
Kurds in Turkey
There is deep-seated hostility between the Turkish state and the country’s Kurds, who constitute 15% to 20% of the population. 11–15 million
Kurds received harsh treatment at the hands of the Turkish authorities for generations. In response to uprisings in the 1920s and 1930s, many Kurds were resettled, Kurdish names and costumes were banned, the use of the Kurdish language was restricted and even the existence of a Kurdish ethnic identity was denied, with people designated “Mountain Turks”.
Kurds make up between 7% and 10% of Syria’s population, 1.3–3 million, with most living in the cities of Damascus and Aleppo, and in three, non-contiguous areas around Kobane, the north-western town of Afrin, and the north-eastern city of Qamishli.
Syria’s Kurds have long been suppressed and denied basic rights. Some 300,000 have been denied citizenship since the 1960s, and Kurdish land has been confiscated and redistributed to Arabs in an attempt to “Arabize” Kurdish regions. The state has also sought to limit Kurdish demands for greater autonomy by cracking down on protests and arresting political leaders.
Kurds in Iraq
Kurds make up an estimated 15% to 23% of Iraq’s population. 4.6–6.5 million. They have historically enjoyed more national rights than Kurds living in neighboring states, but also faced brutal repression.
Kurds in the north of Iraq revolted against British rule during the mandate era, but were crushed. In 1946, Mustafa Barzani formed the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) to fight for autonomy in Iraq. After the 1958 revolution, a new constitution recognised Kurdish nationality. But Barzani’s plan for self-rule was rejected by the Arab-led central government and the KDP launched an armed struggle in 1961.
In 1970, the government offered a deal to end the fighting that gave the Kurds a de facto autonomous region. But it ultimately collapsed and fighting resumed in 1974. A year later, divisions within the KDP saw Jalal Talabani leave and form the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK).
Kurds in Iran
The Kurdish region of Iran has been a part of the country since ancient times. Nearly all Kurdistan was part of Iranian Empire until its Western part was lost during wars against the Ottoman Empire. Following the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, at the Paris Peace Conference of 1919 Tehran had demanded all lost territories including Turkish Kurdistan, Mosul, and even Diyarbakır, but demands were quickly rejected by Western powers. This area has been divided by modern Turkey, Syria and Iraq.Today, the Kurds inhabit mostly northwestern territories known as Iranian Kurdistan but also the northeastern region of Khorasan, and constitute approximately 7-10% of Iran’s overall population (6.5–7.9 million), compared to 10.6% (2 million) in 1956 and 8% (800 thousand) in 1850.
There was the tiny, briefly lived, Soviet-backed Republic of Mahabad, in the Kurdish region of Iran, in the immediate aftermath of World War II, but when the Soviets withdrew from Iran the Kurdish separatists were massacred by Iranian government forces. During the 1979 revolution that overthrew the shah, the Iranian Kurds sided with Ayatollah Khomeini in the hopes of restoring some autonomy for themselves, but the Khomeinists went on to crush the Kurds, executing thousands. Iran’s Kurds remain brutally suppressed, capable of only the most intermittent and small-scale guerrilla resistance.
The greatest Kurdish misfortune at the moment, however, is to be situated at the intersection of an increasingly bloody and dystopian Arab world, the outward-reaching ruthlessness of Khomeinist Iran, and the belligerent Islamist nationalism of Recep Erdogan’s Turkey. As if to compound the Kurds’ burden of bad luck, Sunni-Shia hatreds are sending seismic shocks through fault lines that lie directly beneath their feet. Most Kurds happen to be Sunni Muslims.
The Kurds have always considered the Americans their friends, Durmaz said, but those warm feelings are growing cold. “The Kurds should be brought into the formula of an American strategy. It makes us very sad. You will never hear a bad word from the Kurds to the Americans. No American interests have been hurt by the Kurds, in any of their territories. To consider the Kurds of the south [the Iraqi KRG] to be allies, but call the Kurds of the north [the PKK] terrorists, is not fair. It is not just. And it further divides the Kurds among themselves,” said one Kurdish politician.
“When ISIS started killing Kurds, the Turkish state likes this very much. Turkey sees it as being in its strategic interest to displace Kurds and to cause divisions in Kurdish society. But we expected Americans to be more sensitive to these matters.”
Kurds will never be free until they are free from the Arab ideology of Islam