Mass Violence and the Kurds: Introduction to the Special Issue




Kurdish, Mass violence, Middle East, The Kurds


The Kurds’ experience with modern mass violence is long and complex. Whereas Kurds lived under the Kurdish Emirates for centuries in pre-national conditions in the Ottoman and Persian empires, the advent of nationalism and colonialism in the Middle East radically changed the situation. World War I was a watershed for most ethnic groups in the Ottoman Empire, such as the Kurds, and some political minorities such as Armenians and Assyrians suffered genocide – including at the hands of Kurds. Moreover, the post-Ottoman order precluded the Kurds from building a nation-state of their own. Kurds were either relegated to cultural and political subordination under the Turkish and Persian nation states, or a precarious existence under alternative orders (colonialism in Syria and Iraq, and communism in the Soviet Union). The nation-state system changed the pre-national, Ottoman imperial order with culturally heterogeneous territories into a system of nation-states which began to produce nationalist homogenisation by virtue of various forms of population policies.


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How to Cite

Işık, A., & Üngör, U. Ümit. (2021). Mass Violence and the Kurds: Introduction to the Special Issue. Kurdish Studies, 9(1), 1-9.