The map above shows the parts of the Middle East with Kurdish populations and which could make up some or all of a future state of Kurdistan. In a recent article titled The Time of the Kurds, the Council on Foreign Relations explains that:
The Kurds are one of the world’s largest peoples without a state, making up sizable minorities in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey. Their history is marked by marginalization and persecution. Yet some Kurds may be on the verge of achieving their century-old quest for independence in a Middle East undergoing the convulsions of Syria’s civil war, Iraq’s destabilization, and conflict with the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
There roughly 30 million Kurds living in the Middle East spread out across the following countries:
- Turkey: 14.7 million (18% of total)
- Iran: 8.1 million (10% of total)
- Iraq: 5.5 million (17.5% of total)
- Syria: 1.7 million (9.7% of total)
You can see these two areas along with the Islamic State in the interactive map below:
Given the fighting in the region it’s very difficult to say what the future holds for the Kurdish people or a future state of Kurdistan. Low level conflict between the Turkish government and Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (Kurdish: Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan) remains ongoing despite PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan announcing “an end of armed struggle and a ceasefire with peace talks” in 2013.
You can learn more about the Kurds from The Time of the Kurds by the Council on Foreign Relations and the following books:
- The Miracle of the Kurds: A Remarkable Story of Hope Reborn in Northern Iraq
- The Kurdish Spring: A New Map of the Middle East
- A Modern History of the Kurds: Third Edition
Do you think an independent state of Kurdistan will ever exist? Leave your thoughts below: