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own large Shʿite population. TheKurdish minority, which had resorted to terrorism in pursuit of its goal of aKurdish state to be carved out of Turkey, Iraq, and Iran, also presented an intracle problem. Finally, the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein hoped to use the opportunity of Irans apparent
The Kurdish language is a West Iranian language related toPersianandPashto. The Kurds are thought to number from million to million, includingcommunitiesin Armenia,GeorgiaKazakhstanLebanon, Syria, and Europe, but sources for this information differ widely because of differingcriteriaofethnicity, religion, and language; statistics may also be manipulated for political purposes.
Anatolia, the peninsula of land that today constitutes the Asian portion of Turkey. Because of its location at the point where the continents of Asia and Europe meet, Anatolia was, from the beginnings of civilization, a crossroads for numerous peoples migrating or conquering from
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Areas of Kurdish settlement in Southwest Asia.
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In traditional Kurdish society,marriagewas generally endogamous. In nonurban areas, males usually marry at age and females at age . Households typically consist of ther, mother, and children.Polygamy, permitted byIslamic law, is sometimes practiced, although it is forbidden bycivil lawin Turkey. The strength of theextended milysties to the tribe varies with the way of life. Kurdish womenwho traditionally have been more active in public life than Turkish,Arab, and Iranian womenas well as Kurdish men, have taken advantage of urban educational and employment opportunities, especially in prerevolutionary Iran.
The first Kurdish news appeared in and was published at intervals until . It was revived atIstanbulin when the first Kurdish political club, with anaffiliatedcultural society, was also founded and again in Cairo during World War I. TheTreaty of Svres, drawn up in , provided for an autonomous Kurdistan but was never ratified; theTreaty of Lausanne, which replaced the Treaty of Svres, made no mention of Kurdistan or of the Kurds. Thus the opportunity to unify the Kurds in a nation of their own was lost. Indeed, Kurdistan after the war was more fragmented than before, and various separatist movements arose among Kurdish groups.
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The principal unit in traditional Kurdish society was thetribe, typically led by a sheikh or an aga, whose rule was firm. Tribal identification and the sheikhs authority are still felt, though to a lesser degree, in the large urban areas. Detribalization proceeded intermittently as Kurdishculturebecame urbanized and was nominallyassimilatedinto several nations.
Despite their longstanding occupation of a particular region of the world, the Kurds never achieved nationstate status. Their reputation for military prowess has made them much in demand as mercenaries in many armies. The sultanSaladin, best known to the Western world for exploits in theCrusades, epitomizes the Kurdish military reputation.
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Although estimates of their precise numbers vary, theKurds are reckoned to be the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East, following Arabs, Turks, and Persians. There are importantKurdish minorities in Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria, and IraqsKurds are concentrated in
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Kurds also felt strong assimilationist pressure from the national government in Iran and endured religious persecution by that countrysShʿiteMuslim majority. Shortly afterWorld War II, theSoviet Unionbacked the eslishment of an independent country around the largely Kurdish city ofMahbd, in northwestern Iran. The socalled Republic of Mahbd collapsed after Soviet withdrawal in , but about that same time the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran KDPI was eslished. Thereafter, the KDPI engaged in lowlevel hostilities with the Iranian government into the st century.
, member of an ethnic and linguistic group living in theTaurus Mountainsof easternAnatolia, theZagros Mountainsof westernArmenia, and otheradjacentareas. Most of the Kurds live incontiguousareas of Iran, Iraq, andTurkeya somewhat loosely defined geographic region generally referred to asKurdistanLand of the Kurds. The name has differentconnotationsin Iran and Iraq, which officially recognize internal entities by this name Irans northwestern province of Kordestn and Iraqs Kurdishautonomousregion. A sizable noncontiguous Kurdish population also exists in theKhorsnregion, situated in Irans northeast.
Kurds Student Encyclopedia Ages and up
Violence and insility in Iraq following the removal of Saddam Hussein and in Syria following the outbreak of civil war in threatened the security of Kurdish communities but also offered new opportunities for Kurds to advance their claims toautonomy. The primary threat to Kurds was the extremistIslamic State in Iraq and the LevantISIL, which captured and occupied territory adjacent to Kurdish areas in Iraq and Syria in . Kurdish fighters in northern Syria entered into heavy fighting with ISIL and quickly proved to be some of the most effective ground forces against the group. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces participated in a multinational campaign to expel ISIL from its strongholds in northern and western Iraq.
The Kurdish language and traditional way of life
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thcentury international relations The Soviets in Afghanistan
the Shaṭṭ alʿArab waterway, dissidentKurdish populations in the north of Iraq took advantage of the war to agitate for autonomy. Hussein struck back at theKurds in genocidal shion, bombing their villages with chemical weapons and poison gas. In May Iraq launched a massive surprise attack that drove
With the help of theUnited States, however, the Kurds were able to eslish a safe haven that included most areas of Kurdish settlement in northern Iraq, where the IKDP and Patriotic Union of Kurdistana ction that split from the IKDP in created an autonomous civil authority that was, for the most part, free from interference by the Iraqi government. The Kurds were particularly successful in that countrys elections, held following the ll ofSaddam Husseinand theBaʿth Partyin , and in mid the first session of the Kurdish parliament wasconvenedinIrbl.
Taurus Mountains, mountain range in southern Turkey, a great chain running parallel to the Mediterranean coast. The system extends along a curve from Lake Egridir in the west to the upper reaches of the Euphrates River in the east. Aladağ , feet [, m] in the Taurus
The traditional Kurdish way of life wasnomadic, revolving around sheep and goat herding throughout the Mesopotamian plains and the highlands of Turkey and Iran. Most Kurds practiced only marginal agriculture. The enforcement of national boundaries beginning afterWorld War I impeded the seasonal migrations of the flocks, forcing most of the Kurds to abandon their traditional ways for village life and settled rming; others entered nontraditional employment.
Although the pressure for Kurds toassimilatewas less intense in Iraq where the Kurdish language and culture have been freely practiced, government repression has been the most brutal. Shortlived armed rebellions occurred in Iraq in and , and a lowlevel armed insurgency took place throughout the s under the command ofMuṣṭaf alBarzn, leader of the Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party IKDP, who had been an officer of the Republic of Mahbd. A iled peace accord with the Iraqi government led to another outbreak of fighting in , but an agreement between Iraq and Iranwhich had been supporting Kurdish effortslater that year led to a collapse of Kurdish resistance. Thousands of Kurds fled to Iran and Turkey. Lowintensity fighting followed. In the late s, IraqsBaʿth Partyinstituted a policy of settling Iraqi Arabs in areas with Kurdish majoritiesparticularly around the oilrich city ofKirkkand uprooting Kurds from those same regions. This policy accelerated in the s as large numbers of Kurds were forcibly relocated, particularly from areas along the Iranian border where Iraqi authorities suspected Kurds were aiding Iranian forces during theIranIraq War. What followed was one of the most brutal episodes in Kurdish history. In a series of operations between March andAugust, codenamed Anl Arabic Spoils, Iraqi forces sought to quell Kurdish resistance; the Iraqis used large quantities of chemical weapons on Kurdish civilians. Although technically it was not part of Anl, one of the largest chemical attacks during that period took place on March in and around the village of Ḥalabjah, when Iraqi troops killed as many as , Kurds with mustard gas and nerve agent. Despite these attacks, Kurds again rebelled following Iraqs defeat in thePersian Gulf War but were again brutally suppressedsparking another mass exodus.
Kurdishnationalismcame about through the conjunction of a variety of ctors, including the British introduction of the concept of private property, the partition of regions of Kurdish settlement by modern neighbouring states, and the influence of British, U.S., and Soviet interests in the Persian Gulf region. These ctors and others combined with the flowering of a nationalist movement among a very small minority of urban,intellectualKurds.
Picking up the pieces of the shattered olive industry near Mosul, Iraq, after Kurdish forces dislodged the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant ISIL in .
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The prehistory of the Kurds is poorly known, but their ancestors seem to have inhabited the same upland region for millennia. The records of the early empires ofMesopotamiacontain frequent references to mountain tribes with names resembling Kurd. The Kardouchoi whom the Greek historianXenophonspeaks of inAnabasisthey attacked the Ten Thousand near modern Zkh, Iraq, in bce may have been Kurds, but some scholars dispute this claim. The name Kurd can be dated with certainty to the time of the tribes conversion toIslamin the th centuryce. Most Kurds areSunniMuslims, and among them are many who practiceSufismand other mystical sects.
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Kurdish Institute A brief survey of The History of the Kurds
An Iraqi Kurdish woman working in a folk museum in Irbl, Iraq, winding lambs wool onto a spool to make handwoven carpets.
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The Kurds of Turkey received unsympathetic treatment at the hands of the government, which tried to deprive them of their Kurdish identity by designating them Mountain Turks, by outlawing the Kurdish language or representing it as adialectof Turkish, and by forbidding them to wear distinctive Kurdish dress in or near the important administrative cities. The Turkish government suppressed Kurdish political agitation in the eastern provinces and encouraged the migration of Kurds to the urbanized western portion of Turkey, thus diluting the concentration of Kurdish population in the uplands. Periodic rebellions occurred, and in Abdullah Öcalanformed theKurdistan Workers Partyknown by its Kurdishacronym, PKK, a Marxist organization dedicated to creating an independent Kurdistan. Operating mainly from eastern Anatolia, PKK fighters engaged in guerrilla operations against government installations and perpetrated frequent acts ofterrorism. PKK attacks and government reprisals led to a state of virtual war in eastern Turkey during the s and s. Following Öcalans capture in , PKK activities were sharply curtailed for several years before the party resumed guerilla activities in . In , under pressure from theEuropean Unionin which Turkey sought membership, the government legalized broadcasts and education in the Kurdish language. Turkey continued to mount military operations against the PKK, including incursions into northern Iraq.
Encyclopdia Britannica articles are written in a neutral objective tone for a general audience.Kurpersian cultured