chapter  49
2 Pages


Nearly all of the more than 25 million Kurds are Sunni Muslims. Their language is of the Iranian group, distantly related to Persian (Farsi). Most of them live in an area that is divided between four countries: Turkey, in which there are at least 14 million Kurds; Iran, with 6 million; Iraq, with at least 4 million; and Syria, with 1 million (there are also some thousands of Kurds in Armenia and Israel). About a third of the Kurds in Turkey have migrated to its western regions, and many have, in varying degrees, become assimilated; a quarter of the members of the Turkish parliament, and a quarter of the 2 million immigrants from Turkey now in Germany, are of Kurdish origin. But the Kurds’ heartland is the region stretching from south-east Turkey to northern Iraq and western Iran, whose population is predominantly Kurdish. Rebellious Kurds have repeatedly challenged each of the three governments that share control of this region.