본문 바로가기
  • Home

Understanding and Forecasting the Turkish-Kurdish Dispute

  • Muslim-Christian Encounter
  • Abbr : MCE
  • 2018, 11(2), pp.113-150
  • DOI : 10.30532/mce.2018.11.2.113
  • Publisher : Torch Trinity Center for Islamic Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Christian Theology > Mission Theology
  • Received : September 17, 2018
  • Accepted : September 27, 2018
  • Published : September 30, 2018

Kim, Sung Woon 1

1고신대학교

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to understand the long-lasting Turk-Kurdish dispute. Comprised of 500 tribes which share a common language, religion, culture, and history, the Kurdish people are the world’s largest stateless nation. Unable to establish a geographic state, the Kurdish people are dispersed throughout the borders of numerous countries; roughly 15-20 million in Turkey, 10 million in Iran, 5 million in Iraq, and 2 million in Syria today. The fact that a nation exists without a state is not always a dire problem. In fact, not all nation groups have an independent state of their own nor particularly desire to have an independent state. However, oftentimes when an oppressive ruling nation and a minority nation exist under the same state, political dispute occurs. Turkey, comprised with 80% Turks and 20% Kurds, is one of the states in which such a dispute constantly surges. Though there are also problems of the same nature in Iraq and Iran which has recently gained international attention, the Kurdish related problem in Turkey has a special layer of complexities. Even amongst the Turks, some argue that though the Kurdish request to gain independence must not be accepted, their political, cultural, and religious rights must be respected, while others refuse to acknowledge the presence of Kurds at all. In addition to refusing their presence, they also claim the Kurdish problem is a result of outside forces creating an artificial presence to divide Turkey and lead it to its downfall. To makes matters more difficult, Kurds do not have a unified understanding and definition of their problems. Turkish Kurds exist with diverging interests and are divided by numerous factors. The Turkish Kurds religious affiliations are many and religiously incompatible. The religions practiced are, Sunni Islam, a Shia faction, Alevi, and a mixed divided faction of Yezid. Similarly, their languages are divided to Kurmanci and Zaza, which are not able to provide mutual linguistic communication. Socially, the nation is divided by the Asiret clan. In addition to these complexities, the Kurdish problem is an international problem which draws the interest of numerous nations. Beyond Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq which are directly affected by the Kurdish problem, the Western political powers which have been using Kurds as a tool for their power play are also deeply involved with the issue. For such reasons, it is difficult to understand whether the dispute is related to the independence of Kurds from Turkey or for the two nations to live compatibly under the same state, in addition to who would have the ability to solve such a dispute. This paper approaches the issue as a communal problem shared by Turkey and Kurdish rather than a single-sided oppressive situation by examining the historical background and progression of the issue. Using this approach, this paper offers a forecast of how the Turk-Kurdish dispute will progress in the near future.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.