Portal:Kurdistan

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Kurdistan

Osmanli Ortadogu.jpg

Kurdistan is a roughly defined geo-cultural region wherein the Kurdish people form a prominent majority population, and Kurdish culture, language, and national identity have historically been based. Contemporary use of Kurdistan refers to large parts of eastern Turkey (Turkish Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Iranian Kurdistan), northerneastern Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), and a smaller part in northeastern Syria (Rojava) inhabited mainly by Kurds. Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.

Some Kurdish nationalist organizations seek to create an independent nation state of Kurdistan, consisting of some or all of the areas with Kurdish majority, while others campaign for greater Kurdish autonomy within the existing national boundaries. Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as an autonomous entity within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005. There is a province by the name Kurdistan in Iran; it is not self-ruled. Kurds fighting in the Syrian Civil War were able to take control of large sections of northeast Syria as forces loyal to al-Assad withdrew to fight elsewhere. Having established their own government, some Kurds called for autonomy in a democratic Syria; others hoped to establish an independent Kurdistan.

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Chad Hill, Ancient citadel in Kirkuk, Iraq
Kirkuk is a city in the north of Iraq, 236 kilometres (147 mi) north of, Baghdad, and 83 kilometres (52 miles) south of Erbil. It is the capital of Kirkuk Governorate.

Kirkuk lies in a wide zone with an enormously diverse population, which has moreover experienced dramatic demographic changes in the course of the twentieth century. The city has been multilingual for centuries, and the development of distinct ethnic groups was a process that took place over the course of Kirkuk's urbanization in the twentieth century. Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians and Arabs lay conflicting claims to this zone, and all have their historical accounts and memories to buttress their claims.

The city sits on the site of the ancient Hurrian southern capital of Arrapha, which sits near the Khasa River on the ruins of a 5,000-year-old settlement (Kirkuk Citadel). It became known as Arrapha under the domination of the Hurrians—pre-Aryan peoples. The city reached great importance again under the later, but short-lived Assyrians in the 10th and 11th centuries BC. Because of the strategic geographical location of the city, Kirkuk was the battle ground for three empires—the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Babylonia, and Media—which controlled the city at various times.

Selected biography

Abdullah Öcalan.png
Abdullah Öcalan (born 4 April 1948), also known as Apo (short for Abdullah and "uncle" in Kurdish), is one of the founding members of the militant organization the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in 1978 in Turkey, which is listed as a terrorist organization internationally by some states and organizations, including NATO, the United States and the European Union.

Öcalan was arrested in 1999 by the CIA and Turkish security forces in Nairobi and taken to Turkey, where he was sentenced to death under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, which concerns the formation of armed gangs. The sentence was commuted to aggravated life imprisonment when Turkey abolished the death penalty in support of its bid to be admitted to membership in the European Union. From 1999 until 2009, he was the sole prisoner on the İmralı island, in the Sea of Marmara. Öcalan has acknowledged the violent nature of the PKK, but says that the period of armed warfare was defunct and a political solution to the Kurdish question should be developed.

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