WHO ARE THE KURDS?
The Kurdish people are a heterogeneous ethnic group whose ethnic background comes from many regions including Iraqi Kurdistan, and parts of Iran, Turkey, and Syria. The Kurdish ethnic group includes many ancient ethnicities that have been absorbed into modern cultures including Iranian, Azerbaijani, Turkic and Arabic cultures. In this sense, the Kurdish culture shares commonalities with many other regional cultures, and celebrates a unique level of cultural equality and tolerance.
WHERE ARE THE KURDS?
There are 40 million Kurds who are forced to be divided between four countries, which are Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran, there are about 5 million Kurds in Northern Iraq, 20 million are located in south Turkey, 2 million of them are in East Syria and about 6 million of them are in West Iran. The rest are all over the world because of not having their own country they were either forced to leave their areas or preferred to live in peace in Europe and the United States.
In addition to political repression, the Kurds have also experienced cultural repression. In Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, there were extensive campaigns at forced assimilation. Kurds were forbidden to speak Kurdish in public, they had to change their names to local ethnic names if they wanted a job or to enroll their children in school.
Nationalist movements gained popularity throughout Europe in the 19th Century resulting in establishment of nation-states in Germany, Italy and Greece as well as autonomy in the Balkans (Serbia, Bosnia, Bulgaria) that were under the control of the Ottoman Empire. Nationalist fever did not go unnoticed amongst the young Kurds.
First appeared during the movement for Kurdish independence from the Ottoman Empire. Consisting of a tricolor of red, white, and green horizontal bands with a yellow sun disk of 21 rays at its center, it is now the official flag of the autonomous Kurdistan Region in Iraq, which is under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.