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.
Leyla Zana (born May 3, 1961), is a Kurdish politician, who was imprisoned for 10 years for her political activism, which was deemed by the Turkish courts to be against the unity of the country. When she was a member of pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, she was banned from joining any political party for five years with the Constitutional Court's decision to ban this party. She has been elected as an independent member of parliament for Diyarbakır by the support of Peace and Democracy Party.
She was awarded the 1995 Sakharov Prize by the European Parliament, but was unable to collect it until her release in 2004. She was also awarded the Rafto Prize in 1994 after being recognized by the Rafto Foundation for being incarcerated for her peaceful struggle for the human rights of the Kurdish people in Turkey and the neighbouring countries.