Diaspora


Diaspora
(Kurdish)
   One might argue that there is both an internal Kurdish diaspora that has migrated out of historically Kurdish areas but remains in its country of origin and an external Kurdish diaspora that has emigrated to Europe and other foreign locations such as North America and Australia. Although statistics are poor, many believe, for example, that more ethnic Kurds now live in central and western Anatolia than in the historical Kurdish provinces of Turkey due to the forced deportations and violence associated with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and earlier uprisings. In this vein, Istanbul is sometimes referred to as the largest Kurdish city in the world, with estimates as high as 3,000,000.
   The consequences of this internal Kurdish diaspora in Turkey are enormous but unclear. For one thing, it probably makes it physically impossible to give the Kurds in Turkey autonomy now that more of them may live outside of their traditional homeland than in it. This internal diaspora may also make assimilation into the larger Turkish population more likely. On the other hand, this Kurdish migration to other parts of Turkey might also nationalize a Kurdish problem that was once just regional.
   Externally, more than 1,000,000 Kurds may now live in the West, with by far the largest number (more than 500,000) residing in Germany alone. Much smaller but significant numbers also live in France, Great Britain, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands, among other countries. An undetermined number of Kurds also live in Russia and several other former Soviet republics such as Armenia, site of the former Red Kurdistan. More than 25,000 Kurds also live in the United States and still others in Canada.
   Already this external diaspora is carrying out an important lobbying role both in the West and in the Kurdish homeland itself. It is also increasingly facilitating the transfer of needed human and technical resources back to the homeland. One may also speculate that the democratically socialized diaspora will even begin to further the democratization process in Kurdistan. Freed from the struggles that divide greater Kurdistan, the next generation of this new Kurdish diaspora may gradually become more pan-Kurdish in outlook. On the other hand, this external Kurdish diaspora may also be increasingly assimilated into its new homelands. After the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, significant members of the external Kurdish diaspora either returned to what had become the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq or rendered it their support.
   See also Refugees.

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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