Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Diasporas

pp 214-224

Kurdish Diaspora

  • Amir Hassanpour
  • , Shahrzad Mojab

The Kurds are the fourth largest ethnic group of the Middle East, outnumbered by Arabs, Turks, and Persians. In the absence of census data, their number is estimated variously between 25 and 30 million (see estimates in Table 1). They are divided primarily among the four neighboring countries of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, with additional populations scattered throughout western and Central Asia and, since the 1970s, other continents, forming a new global diasporic community (for estimates of the size of the diasporas in particular countries see Table 2).

New Kurdish diasporas emerged in the context of a bloody conflict over Kurdistan, the homeland of the Kurds, which has been going on since the 1970s. These diasporas enter into complex and changing interactions with the homeland and with each other, and have already transformed the emerging Kurdish nation into a transnational entity.

The Kurdish nation in its homeland is divided internally by class, gender, dialect, alphabet, and rel ...

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