Kurdish Human Rights in Turkey

Kurdish Human Rights
Kurdish Human Rights

Kurds in Turkey refers to people born in or residing in Turkey who are of Kurdish origin. The Kurds are the largest ethnic minority in Turkey. According to various estimates, they compose between 15% and 20% of the population of Turkey. Kurds live throughout Turkey but are primarily concentrated in Turkish Kurdistan, in the southeast of Turkey.

Massacres, such as the Kocgiri, Sheik Said, Zilan massacre, and Dersim ethnocide have periodically been committed against the Kurds since the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. The Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991 and denied the existence of Kurds. The words “Kurds” or “Kurdistan” were banned in any language by the Turkish government, though “Kurdish” was allowed in census reports. Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish languages were officially prohibited in public and private life. Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned. In Turkey, it is illegal to use Kurdish as a language of instruction in both public and private schools. The Kurdish language is only allowed as a subject in some schools.

Since the 1980s, Kurdish movements have included both peaceful political activities for basic civil rights for Kurds in Turkey as well as armed rebellion and guerrilla warfare, including military attacks aimed mainly at Turkish military bases, demanding first a separate Kurdish state and later self-determination for the Kurds. According to a state-sponsored Turkish opinion poll, 59% of self-identified Kurds in Turkey think that Kurds in Turkey do not seek a separate state (while 71.3% of self-identified Turks think they do).

During the Kurdish