The Kurdish people who, for more than two thousand years, have been living in the lands of Anatolia and Persia, have their own unique history. Their land exists: it is Kurdistan, extending from the Anatolian plateau and plains to the Zagros mountains, but the borders of this vast land have never been recognized by any State. The ancient language of Kurdish, with Indo-European roots, is related to Persian and quite distinct from Arabic and Turkish, and has developed, creating several dialects, despite harsh persecution of communities speaking the language. The civilization passed down from the ancient Kurds has produced a thriving culture which, at different times, has been influenced by Persian, Arabic and Ottoman civilizations, and has combined the religions of Zoroastrianism and Islam; but it has always remained the culture of a repressed “ethnic minority.” There is a land, a language and a culture, yet today, in the early 21st century, the 40 million Kurds of the Middle East now form the largest population of stateless persons in the world.
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