Kurds in Georgia
20,843 (2002 census).|
|Regions with significant populations|
|Batumi, Meskheti, Javakheti, Adjara, Rustavi, and Abkhazia.|
In the 20th century, most Kurds fled religious persecution in the Ottoman Empire to the Russian Empire. In Georgia, Kurds enjoy a higher standard of living than the Kurds in Turkey and the Kurds in Iran and they face no discrimination in Georgia, but the return of their Kurdish surnames needs efforts, says Kurdish activist in Georgia. The Kurds also have their own schools, school books and a printing press in Georgia. Illiteracy among them disappeared in the early 1900s. According to a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees rerport from 1998, about 80% of the Kurdish population in Georgia are Yazidi Kurds. Kurds in Georgia are politically neutral, however in 1999, they staged a huge demonstration in Tbilisi, demanding the release of the founder of Kurdistan Workers' Party, Abdullah Ocalan. Kurds in Georgia use Cyrillic script. Earlier in the 1920s, they used the Latin script.
The first Kurds came to Georgia, during the reign of George III in the 12th century. Kurdish tribes appeared in Georgia in the 16th century, in the city of Mtskheta. During the 18th century Kurds arrived to Tbilisi, to get assistance from King Erekle II of the Kingdom of Kakheti during the Kurdish liberation in Turkey. When Russia and Iran signed the Treaty of Turkmenchay in 1828, Kurds got the opportunity to work in Georgia. Most Kurds exiled from Van and Kars to Georgia in 1918, after Turkey oppressed them politically and religiously. Kurds of Georgia also became victims of Stalin’s purges in 1944. Between 1979 and 1989, the Kurdish population in Georgia increased 30%. When Georgia became independent, the Kurdish population in Georgia reduced.
Similarity to Georgian people
David Comas and colleagues found that Mitochondrial sequence pools in Georgians and Kurds are very similar, despite their different linguistic and prehistoric backgrounds. Both populations present mtDNA lineages that clearly belong to the Western Eurasian gene pool.
- Kurdish population
- Kurds in Armenia
- Kurds in Azerbaijan
- Kurds in Iran
- Kurds in Turkey
- Kurds in Russia
- Kurds in Kazakhstan
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