- Unrecognized states
- Population (estimated) 36,4 million
- Language Kurdish
- Area (estimated) 190,000-500,000 km²
The Kurds are often said to be the largest ethnic group in the world without a state. Kurdistan refers to an area consisting of parts of southeastern Turkey (Northern Kurdistan), northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan), northwestern Iran (Eastern Kurdistan) and northern Syria (Rojava or Western Kurdistan). Those who identify as Kurdish form a prominent majority in the area and Kurdish culture, languages and national identity have deep historical roots there. Some Kurdish nationalist organizations seek to create an independent nation state consisting of some or all of the areas with a Kurdish majority, while others campaign for greater autonomy within the existing national boundaries. Kurdistan, as one of the most mountainous regions in the world, cherishes its mountains with the saying ‘Kurds have no friends but the mountains’.
Why Didn’t Iraqi Kurdistan Declare Independence?
In 2017, the Kurdish Region of Iraq overwhelmingly voted to become an independent country. However, there was no declaration of independence. In this video, James Ker-Lindsay (London School of Economics) explains why Iraqi Kurdistan didn’t break away, despite clear support for statehood.