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Kurdification is a cultural change in which something ethnically non-Kurdish is made to become Kurdish, usually in contexts of post-Saddam Iraq, in particular in relation to Assyrian Christians, Iraqi Turkmen, Shabak people and the ethno-religious group of the Yazidis.[1][2][3][4]

The term is mainly used for the implementation of article 140 of the Iraqi constitution which ensured to restore the situation before Saddam Hussein's assimilation and deportation policies.

"Assyrian, Yazidi and Shabak villages are under Kurdish Control in North Iraq."[5]

Some Yazidis expressed concern over forced assimilation into Kurdish culture and identity. Some have accused the Kurdish parties of diverting US $12 million reconstruction funds allocated for Yazidi areas in Jebel Sinjar to a Kurdish village and marginalizing them politically.[6] According to the Human Rights Watch, in 2009, "The goal of these tactics is to push Shabak and Yazidi communities to identify as ethnic Kurds. The Kurdish authorities are working hard to impose Kurdish identity on two of the most vulnerable minorities in Iraq, the Yazidis and the Shabaks".[7]

Yazidi activists have reported that, since 2003, there have been numerous cases of Yazidi women being abducted and forced to marry members of the Kurdish security force Asayish. A report from Minority Rights Group International.[8]

According to Hunain Qaddo, President of the Iraqi Minorities Council, Shabaks are currently undergoing a process of Kurdification.[9]

On 15 August 2005, Shabaks organised a demonstration under the slogan "We are the Shabak, NOT Kurds and NOT Arabs", demanding recognition of their unique ethnic identity.The demonstration came under fire from Kurdistan Democratic Party militia.[10]

On 21 August 2006, Shabak Democratic Party leader Hunain Qaddo, proposed the creation of a separate province within the borders of the Nineveh Plain, in order to combat the Kurdification and Arabization of Iraqi minorities.[11]

In 2008, Mr Mirza Ismail, chairman of London Yezidis Community-Canada, accused the Kurdistan Regional Government of forcing Yazidis to register as Kurds, expanding Kurdish settlements in Yazidi regions, and forcing Yazidis out of Sinjar city.[12]

See also[edit]


  • A. Bazzaz, turkmen.nl "The Kurdification procedure was soon implemented by the Kurdish leadership after toppling Saddam down in April 2003"
  • Park, Bill, The Kurds and post-Saddam political arrangements in Iraq The Adelphi Papers (2005), Taylor & Francis: "The Kurds, who are intent on the further ‘Kurdification’ of Kirkuk before any census is held"
  • Park, Bill, Iraqi scenarios, The Adelphi Papers, Volume 45, Number 374, May 2005, pp. 49–66