15 October 2007

Where Are The Kurds?

The map above from Wikipedia (created by Arab Atlas), illustrates the central issue in the Kurds' struggle with Turkey, that has drawn a threat of war with the Iraqi Kurdish entity from the Turkish government.

About 20% of the total population of Turkey is Kurdish. Much of Turkey's Eastern and central mountainous region, all the way to the capital, Ankara, and beyond, has substantial Kurdish populations. Eyeballing it, probably half of the territory of Turkey has substantial Kurdish populations. But, only about a quarter of the territory of Turkey has majority Kurdish populations, and even there, there are often substantial non-Kurdish minorities. So, any effort to separate a Kurdish territory from Turkey would not be clean.

There are three times as many Kurds in Turkey as there are in Iraq, and a similar number of Kurds in Northwest Iran to the number found in Northern Iraq. A smaller number of Kurds are found in the Northeast corner of Syria. So, the likelihood is great that Kurdish ambitions will not stop with an Iraqi Kurdish autonomous region.

Multiple wars for a Kurdish state have been fought since the Kurds failed to get their own state after World War I when the Ottoman Empire was dismantled.

Turkey still has no business invading Iraqi Kurdistan, and will destroy its international standing and any hope of joining the E.U. (already a sore point with Greece, with whom it is not fully at peace) if it does so. But, the deeper problem is how to create a workable situation that both Kurds and non-Kurds in Turkey find acceptable. Without justice, you can't have peace.

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