Why don't you support Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurds strive for independence

In the parliamentary elections on January 30, 2005, the two major Kurdish parties, Jalal Talabanis Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) led by Massud Barzani, finally demonstrated their political weight for the construction of a new Iraq.

But the end of the dictatorial rule of Baghdad has also revived the Iraqi Kurds' aspirations for independence. This need was also intensified emotionally by the war, which was mainly concentrated in the region bordering south and west, the Sunni triangle.

Establishing an autonomous area

In February 2004, a petition circulated by the movement for a referendum on self-determination received more than one and a half million signatures - out of a population of four million. Nonetheless, the Kurdish leaders preferred to negotiate further steps in Baghdad towards an autonomous region that would remain within a federal but unified Iraq. They assume that full independence would be illusory given the encirclement of their area by nothing but hostile countries.

Strengthening the Kurds in Turkey

Because Turkey, Syria and Iran are concerned about the upgrading of the Kurdish region in Iraq. The governments of these countries are wondering whether this example might not lead to similar demands from their own Kurdish people. In Turkey, the pro-Kurdish party Dehap held its own in the local elections in March 2004 in all major cities in the southeast, although it suffered significant losses compared to the 1999 elections.

The release in 2004 of the Kurdish MPs Leila Zana and Hatip Dicle, who have been imprisoned since 1994, legitimized their insistence on an independent Kurdish identity. And in Diyarbakir, the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, the Kurds were able to organize rallies with several hundred thousand participants.

Renewed military control over Turkish Kurdistan

The prospect of EU accession is forcing the government in Ankara to relax the strict supervision of the eastern part of the country. But the scope for freedom remains tightly limited and always endangered. Torture is still one of the instruments used to punish or prevent unpopular political statements. And after the ceasefire declared in 1999 on the occasion of the trial of PKK leader Abdullah Ă–calan is no longer in force, the army is gradually taking back control of the region.