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Kurdistan is an area in the Middle East, inhabited mainly by the Kurds. Kurdistan covers parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Georgia and Syria. The borders of Kurdistan are hard to define, as none of the states in question acknowledge Kurdistan as a demographic or geographical region. There is a province of Kurdistan in Iran.

Before World War I, most Kurds lived within the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Allies created several countries within its former boundaries. Originally Kurdistan, along with Armenia was to be one of them, according to the Treaty of Sèvres. However, the reconquest of these areas by Kemal Atatürk and other pressing issues caused the Allies to accept the renegotiated Treaty of Lausanne, returning this territory to Turkey. Other Kurdish areas were assigned to the new states of Iraq and Syria under both treaties. These boundaries were drawn with more concern for the division of oil resources and influence between different colonial powers and for rewarding pro-Allied Arab leaders than for ethnic distributions.

Since then, Kurds have been divided between several states, in each of which they are minorities. Many Kurds have campaigned for independence or autonomy since then, but there has been no support by any of the regional governments or by outside powers for changes in regional boundaries. A sizeable Kurdish diaspora exists in Western Europe that participates in agitation for Kurdish issues, but most of the governments in the Middle East have historically banned open Kurdish activism.

In Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, Kurdish guerilla groups fight against the government and have some control over Kurdish areas.

Dutch: Koerdistan


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