Clinton, Ankara and Kurdish Human Rights

by Maryam Elahi
published in MER189

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Kurdish Broadcasting in Iraq

by Ann Zimmerman
published in MER189

In the transition from exile to autonomy, Iraqi Kurdish parties have set up the first Kurdish-controlled television channels in the Middle East. Their broadcasts now reach more than half of the estimated 3 to 4 million people in “Free Kurdistan.” [1]

City in the War Zone

by Aliza Marcus
published in MER189

Saki Işikçi sits in a coffeeshop below a picture of the founder of the Turkish republic -- Mustafa Kemal Atatürk -- and ticks off the problems he faces as the deputy mayor of Cizre: bad roads, poor schools, not enough water, no jobs. The city’s monthly budget barely covers municipal salaries, and emigrants from outlying villages are straining social services.

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Mad Dreams of Independence

The Kurds of Turkey and the PKK

by Chris Kutschera
published in MER189

Politics has always been a difficult and risky business for Kurdish nationalists in Turkey. The hegemony today of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with its history of dogmatic Marxism-Leninism and its attachment to armed struggle, is very much a reflection of the refusal of successive Turkish nationalist regimes to accommodate Kurdish aspirations for cultural and political autonomy.

The stirrings of progressive Kurdish nationalist politics in Turkey date to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Kurdish intellectuals in Istanbul and Ankara formed cultural clubs and organizations. The summer of 1967 saw mass student demonstrations in 19 Kurdish cities and towns, including 10,000 marchers in Silvan and 25,000 in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır.

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The Remains of Anfal

by Andrew Whitley
published in MER189

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The Kurdish Experience

by Amir Hassanpour
published in MER189

Numbering over 22 million, the Kurds are one of the largest non-state nations in the world. Their homeland, Kurdistan, has been forcibly divided and lies mostly within the present-day borders of Turkey, Iraq and Iran, with smaller parts in Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The greatest number of Kurds today still live in Kurdistan, though a large Kurdish diaspora has developed in this century, especially in the main cities of Turkey and Iran and more recently in Europe as well. Between 10 and 12 million Kurds live in Turkey, where they comprise about 20 percent of the population. Between 5 and 6 million live in Iran, accounting for close to 10 percent of the population. Kurds in Iraq number more than 4 million, and comprise about 23 percent of the population.

From the Editors

published in MER189

For many decades now, those states whose borders include and divide Kurdistan have alternatively tried to ignore, deny, manipulate and suppress widespread Kurdish demands for political rights. In this, the rulers have enjoyed the unstinting support of their great power patrons, the broad support of the majority communities, and often enough support as well among different Kurdish communities and social strata. These policies comprise a disastrous record that has exacted a horrible price in blood, treasure and democratic rights -- of Arabs, Iranians and Turks as well as of Kurds themselves. These policies have failed miserably in their repressive goals, and yet they continue as the order of the day.

The Iraqi Question from the Inside

by Pierre-Jean Luizard
published in MER193

To affirm the existence of an “Iraqi question” has certain implications. People usually speak, referring to the Shi‘a and the Kurds, of minorities and of the necessity of protecting them as such. But this misses the point concerning what is unique about Iraq.

Turkey's Death Squads

by Martin Van Bruinessen
published in MER199

The emergence of legal Kurdish parties and the frequent occurrence of death squad-style political assassinations were two developments in Turkey’s political life during the 1990s. For the first time in Turkey’s history, there was a group in the parliament that represented -- if only implicitly -- Kurdish nationalist opinion and systematically protested humans rights violations against Kurds. At the same time, a number of influential Kurdish political and community leaders were killed, many of their deaths described as “murders by unknown actors” because the police usually failed to find the assassins.

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Turkey's Elections and the Kurds

by Hamit Bozarslan
published in MER199

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