The aspirations of nearly 30 million Kurds, most of whom live in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, were denied at the end of the first world war when no Kurdish state was created. Instead the kurds were divided between successor states of the Ottoman and Qajar empires. Subsequently victims of genocidal policies in Turkey and Iraq, in Iran the Kurds did not fare much better with the widespread execution of Kurdish separatists after the Islamic revolution. But now political developments in the Middle East have created new opportunities for Kurdish autonomy.
David McDowall is a specialist in Middle Eastern politics and history who has written the widely praised ‘A Modern History of the Kurds’ published by I.B. Tauris. He will talk about the long term story of the Kurds and possibilities for the present and the future.