Kurds in Istanbul
- Total population
In 1995, the Kurdish Human Rights Watch estimated that the Kurds in Istanbul numbered ca. 2 million. In 1996, Servet Mutlu estimated that the Kurds were 8.16% (594,000) of Istanbul instead of the often stated 1.5 million. In 1998, the German Foreign Ministry stated that there were 3 million Kurds in Istanbul. American diplomat John Tirman estimated the Kurds in Istanbul to number 4 million people (1997). According to another estimation, the Kurds in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and other big cities (not including those inside the "Kurdish provinces") constitute 35% of the total Turkish Kurd population.
The first Kurdish cultural and political associations were established in Istanbul. During the reign of Abdulhamid II (r. 1876–1909) the Kurds began producing literature on the condition of the Kurds in Istanbul. In 1918, Kurdish intellectuals established the Association for the Rise of the Kurds in Istanbul. In March 1995 Kurdish riots broke out in Istanbul.
An estimated 3.9% of Istanbul residents consider themselves to be Kurdish; according to one poll, among this group 90% opposed the idea of Kurdish independence from Turkey, while according to another poll, only 9% of supported the HEP party. On June 29, 2013, 10,000 protesters gathered at Taksim Square in solidarity with Kurds. About 1,000 Kurdish activists from Istanbul went to Kobani after Abdullah Ocalan's call of mobilization (September 2014).
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