Kurds are the world’s largest ethnic group. Who don’t have their home country yet? They are fighting for independence and autonomy since more than a century and their struggle is continuous today even. But who exactly Kurds are? And how their struggle for autonomy played a conflict in Middle East? Kurdish population is round about 20 to 40 million people in world wide. Majority of Kurds live in Turkey follower by Iraq, Iran and Syria and Germany. In early 20thcentury Kurds called for their homeland.After World War 1, western states promised Kurds for establishment of their own state but that promise was never materialized.
When Ottoman Empire was defeated and disintegrated and Modern state of Turkey was formed, there was no provision for Independent Kurdish state. Since then Kurds have been treated as an important minorities. And their dream of independent state has repeatedly been crushed. They have suffered violent aggression in Iraq. In 1988 Saddam Hussein gassed 1000 or Kurds to death. Later on more Kurds were killed when they tried to start movement for independence. Kurds eventually established fragile autonomy in Iraq and developed their own military. The autonomy was only recognized after the fall of Saddam Hussein.In Turkey, Kurds faced government aggression for decade. Government crushed those who initiated separatist movement. Kurds make 15 to 20 percent of Turkish population, but often they don’t have same rights as Turks. Until 1991, Turkey referred Kurds as mountain Turks and the words like Kurds, Kurdish or Kurdistan were officially banned.Turkey justified its stance on Kurds as necessary to suppressed those who are trying for seeking independence. Turkistan Kurdish party fought for decades for their separate home land. Turkey labeled them as terrorist groups and killed thousands of them.
Kurds in Syria are largest ethnic minority. They have same behavior here in Syria like in Iraq and Turkey. They have denied their basic rights like citizenship. Involvement in Syrian war leads towards quest for independence again. When proxy war was started in Syria, Kurdish fighters were trained and backed by USA. Similarly in Iraq, Kurdish in Syria developed their own government and military.
If we take Kurds issue in theoretical framework, we will find that Realist school of thought is truly practicing on it. Realism believes in power gain and use of military might. It also suggests that states are rational and unitary actors which always go for national interest. They are selfish and for their quest of power states can use any possible way to achieve it.Now applying it on Kurdistan issue, Kurds were promised for given separate territory where they can live independently. But that promised was not fulfilled. Those states under which’s territory Kurds are living, used hard power and launched military operations against Kurds. Mostly states believe in expansionary designs, no state wants to lose its hold on its own territory that’s why all those four states didn’t give Kurds their separate home land.More than that according to Realist school of Thought there is anarchy at international level. There is lack of central government. There is no strong check and balance on state’s activities because all states are sovereign in their own hemisphere. Similarly In the issue of Kurds, thousands of Kurds were brutally killed, but there was no action taken against those states .International community was silent over it.
Controversy with Kurds is horrible. They have never been enjoyed their own state and independence rather then they are living in these four tastes as their citizens. But they have never been treated as honorable citizens. According to the treaty of Sevres in 1920, Kurds were promised to be given the territory for their separate independent home land. But due to interests of the states surrounding the Kurds, this promise has not been fulfilled even since.More horribly, there were many efforts from these states to remove the Kurds from the world map. During the regime of Saddam Hussein, a poisonous gas attack was unleashed on the Kurdish city of Halajba. Same efforts have been put by Turkey Iran and Syria.But after Gulf war, as USA imposed no fly zone area in Northern Iraq, Kurds significantly took advantage of that and made their DE Facto state here. They have their own parliament and armed forces here but they have never been funded or supported by Iraq’s government.
Middle East is the ground for playing power politics of major powers. Therefore stability in the region does not suite major powers. This is the reason Arab Spring was also failed despite of all efforts made by natives of Middle East to bring democracy in this authoritative region.Unfortunately, Kurds have been targeted or used by these powers for their self interests. These Kurds were used as a tool to spread insurgency in the region, but at the same time these powers are trying to delay the solution of issue, so that they can keep on pursuing gaining their goals and containing each other.So west has played a decisive role in Kurd question.