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Kurds

Introduction

Of all the ethnic groups in the world, the Kurds are one of the largest that has no state to call their own. According to historian William Westermann, “The Kurds can present a better claim to race purity…than any people which now inhabits Europe.” (Bonner, p. 63, 1992) Over the past hundred years, the desire for an independent Kurdish state has created conflicts mainly with the Turkish and Iraqi populations in the areas where most of the Kurds live. This conflict has important geographical implications as well. The history of the Kurdish nation, the causes for these conflicts, and an analysis of the situation will be discussed in this paper.

History of the Kurds

The Kurds are a Sunni Muslim people living primarily in Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. The 25 million Kurds have a distinct culture that is not at all like their Turkish, Persian, and Arabic neighbors (Hitchens, p. 36, 1992). It is this cultural difference between the groups that automatically creates the potential for conflict. Of the 25 million Kurds, approximately 10 million live in Turkey, four million in Iraq, five million in Iran, and a million in Syria, with the rest scattered throughout the rest of the

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