Kurdistan is a region that has existed in turmoil and is the “never was” country. The Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group of the Middle East, numbering between 20 and 25 million. Approximately 15 million live in the regions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria, an area they called Kurdistan, yet they do not have a country of their own. Formal attempts to establish such a state were crushed by the larger and more powerful countries in the region after both world wars. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after World War I, the Kurds were promised their own independent nation under the Treaty of Sevres. In 1923 however, the treaty was broken allowing Turkey to maintain its status and not allowing the Kurdish people to have a nation to call their own. The end of the Gulf war, Iran-Iraq war, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the end of the cold war has reinvigorated a Kurdish Nationalist movement.
The movement is a powder keg ready to explode. With the majority of Kurds living within its boundaries, no country faces this threat more than Turkey. Because of Turkey’s concept of unified, cohesive nationhood-in which the existence of minorities are not acknowledged- these tensions in Turkey are more difficult to handle than else where. In southeastern Turkey, extreme fighting and guerilla tactics are used by the Kurds in support of their political parties. The Turkish military is actively stationed in this area now.
There are several political parties that represent the needs of the Kurdish people. They are the Kurdistan’s Workers Party (PKK) who represent the needs of Turkish Kurds and are the most violent terrorist like group, the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran (KDPI) who is active politically but not militarily, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) composed of Iraqi Kurds, and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) who is also representing the Iraqi Kurds.
The PKK was created in 1974 as a Marxist-Leninist insurgent group primarily composed of Turkish Kurds searching for an independence movement. Its first and only leader, Abdullah Ocalan, or Apo as he came to be called, was at that time a student of political science at Ankara University.
From the late 1970s, Ocalan worked closely with both the then Soviet Union and with Syria, whose governments were attempting to generate a political breakdown in Turkey.
In 1977, the PKK published a series of "com...
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...for years. In 1980, Ocalan actually moved to Syria and used Syrian facilities as well as training grounds in the Bekaa Valley to drill terrorist groups for cross-border attacks against targets in Turkey. Greece, a NATO ally, backs the PKK and its affiliates by every means at its disposal.
The PKK is a very malicious and radical group in their search for their independence. They believe that their human rights are being oppressed by The Turkish peoples and that they deserve what land is theirs, no matter the cost. The only forces that stand in their way are Turkey, the PUK, and the KDP. If these organizations fail to stop the PKK, a new nation will be formed in the name of Marxism. And other countries may soon follow, changing what we know as the Middle East.
The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990’s ; Robert Olsen, editor; The University Press of Kentucky, 1996
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