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The Kurds



THE KURDS live mainly in Turkey, Iran and Iraq and probably number about 25-35 million worldwide (though estimates vary). They are the most important ethnic group without a state of their own. They are mostly Sunni Muslims and have their own languages. 

About 15 million Kurds live in Turkey, 6 million in Iran, 5 million in Iraq and up to 1.5 million in Syria. Smaller numbers live in former Soviet republics and in Lebanon. Outside their home region, there are about 825,000 Kurds in Europe (550,000 of them in Germany) and some 10,000 in the United States.

Further information: Wikipedia; Columbia Encyclopedia

The Kurds and Islam (International Turkey Network)

Kurdish flags 
Plus flags of various Kurdish organisations

Kurdish music (Wikipedia)


Map showing the main areas of Kurdish population (Wikipedia)


Kurdish timeline 
A chronology of key events since 1918 (BBC)

Kurdish history timeline 
From the 7th century (Infoplease)

History of the Kurds (Wikipedia)

Historical background  
(International Turkey Network)


Kurdish Language (Wikipedia) 

The southern Kurdish language (Ethnologue database). See also languages of Iraq

The southern Kurdish language (Ethnologue database). See also languages of Turkey

Kurdish Language and Linguistics 
A directory of academic work on Kurdish language and linguistics (Edinburgh University)


Kurdish national aspirations (or fears of them) have become a political issue in Turkey and Iraq, and to a lesser extent in Syria and Iran. The Kurdish Human Rights Project summarises the situation country by country on its website.

Iraqi Kurds suffered atrocities at the hands of Saddam Hussein's regime during the 1980s. Following the 1991 Gulf war, the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq became more or less independent - protected from further attacks by a no-fly zone patrolled by the US and Britain. Since the overthrow of Saddam in 2003, the Kurds' long-term relationship with the Iraqi state has become a major issue.

The main Kurdish political organisations in Iraq are the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massoud Barzani and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) led by Jalal Talabani.

Political parties

Kurdish political parties (Medea)

Kurdistan Democratic Party (Iran)

Kurdistan Democratic Party (Iraq)

Kurdistan Democratic Party (Syria/Lebanon)

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)

Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK)
Also PUK websites in: Australia, France, Germany, Russia

Socialist Party of Kurdistan (SPK)

A Kurdish Marxist organisation


Special provisions for the Kurdistan region of Iraq 
Kurdistan Regional Government, 20 February 2004

Constitution of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region 
Kurdistan Democratic Party, 13 October 2002

Kurdish view on the constitutional future of Iraq 
by Nouri Talabany, 18 June, 1999

Washington accord between PUK and KDP 
Full text. 17 September, 1998

Alliance between PUK and KDP  
21 November, 1994

Paris agreement between PUK and KDP
July, 1993


Kurdistan Observer (in English)
An on-line newspaper, updated daily

Kurdish Media (in English)
"United Kurdish voice"

Kurdistan National Network (in English)

Newspaper of the Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria (in Arabic)

Azadiya Welat 
Kurdish weekly (in Kurmanci and Zazaki)

Denge Kurd 

Özgur Politika

PKK journal

Voice of America in Kurdish


AKA Kurdistan

American Kurdish Information Network

American Society for Kurds

Kurdish Human Rights Project

Kurdish Information Network

Kurd On Line.com

Kurdish Human Rights Watch


In the Kurdish section


In the diversity section



The Kurdish Predicament in Iraq: A Political Analysis
Michael M. Gunter. Hardcover, 1999

Easy Way to Kurdish: A Mini Course
Soraya Mofty. Audio Cassette, 1997

Women of a Non-State Nation, The Kurds
Shahrzad Mojab (ed). Paperback

The Kurdish Question and Turkish-Iranian Relations: From World War I to 1998
Robert Olson. Hardcover, 1998

A Kurdish Family (Journey Between Two Worlds)
Karen O'Connor, Rick Moncauskas (photographer). Paperback, 1996. Also in library binding

Kurdish Culture and Society: An Annotated Bibliography
Lokman I. Meho, Kelly L. Maglaughlin (compilers). Hardcover

The Kurdish Nationalist Movement in the 1990s
Robert W. Olson (ed). Paperback, 1996. Also in hardcover 

Dr. Sa'Eed of Iran: Kurdish Physician to Princes and Peasants Nobles and Nomads
Jay M. Rasdoli, Cady H. Allen. Paperback, 1983

The Emergence of Kurdish Nationalism, 1800-1925
Robert W. Olson. Paperback, 1991

Learn Kurdish
Baran Rizgar. Paperback, 1996

Kurdish-English/ English-Kurdish Dictionary
Aziz Amindarov. Paperback, 1994

A Kurdish-English Dictionary
Ernest N. McCarus. Hardcover, 1967

Kurdish-Arabic Dictionary
M. Mokri. Paperback, 1999. Also in hardcover edition

Kurdish-English & English-Kurdish Dictionary (Kurmanc Dialect)
Baran Rizgar. Paperback, 1993

Kurdish Sorani and English Words for School Use
Jill Rutter (ed), Fiona Macintosh (illus). Paperback, 2001

Kurdish Dialect Studies I
D.N. MacKenzie. Paperback, 1990. Also Volume II 




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Last revised on 03 August, 2015