The Heat: Kurdish autonomy in the Middle East

The Heat

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Over the last few years, the Kurds have been in the news for their prominent role in the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

But, who are the Kurds and what do they want? Together they make up about 30 million people united by race, culture and language. The majority are Sunni Muslims and live mainly in regions that straddle the borders along Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Armenia.

Iraq Kurds, with a population of 5.5 million, control a largely autonomous region in the northern part of the country. Their regional government is headquartered in Irbil, and their fighting forces, the Peshmerga, have played a significant role in pushing back against the Islamic State.

In Turkey, there are about 14 million Kurds. There, a separatist group called the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (also known as the PKK) is waging an armed struggle for a Kurdish homeland. Its efforts are strongly resisted by Turkish forces and the bloody conflict has claimed about 40,000 lives since the early 1980’s.

In March, Kurds in Syria declared they were setting up a federal region in areas under their control in the northern part of the country. Kurds make up about 10 percent of the Syrian population, and the self-proclaimed region they want to establish is also known as Rojava.

To discuss the Kurds in Syria:

The Heat: Kurdish autonomy in the Middle East Pt1

The Heat: Kurdish autonomy in the Middle East Pt1

Over the last few years, the Kurds have been in the news for their prominent role in the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. But, who are the Kurds and what do they want? Together they make up about 30 million people united by race, culture and language. The majority are Sunni Muslims and live mainly in regions that straddle the borders along Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria and Armenia. To discuss the Kurds in Syria: Saleh Moslem Mohamed, Co-President of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party.

To discuss the Kurds and their efforts to win more autonomy and maybe even their own state:

  • Hiwa Osman, an Iraqi Kurdish journalist and commentator. And, he’s previously served as a media advisor to the former President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani.
  • Adem Uzun, a member of the Kurdistan National Congress.
  • Ali Cinar, the Executive Vice-President of the Turkish Heritage Organization.

 

The Heat: Kurdish autonomy in the Middle East Pt 2

The Heat: Kurdish autonomy in the Middle East Pt 2

To discuss the Kurds and their efforts to win more autonomy and maybe even their own state: Hiwa Osman, an Iraqi Kurdish journalist and commentator. And, he’s previously served as a media advisor to the former President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani. Adem Uzun, a member of the Kurdistan National Congress. Ali Cinar, the Executive Vice-President of the Turkish Heritage Organization.