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Azerbaijan’s Kurdish Past Erased by Upheavals, Occupation
Topic Started: 30th March 2013 - 11:46 PM (1,645 Views)
ALAN
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BAKU, Azerbaijan – Most young Kurds in Azerbaijan do not even speak the language of their ancestors, so thoroughly have the upheavals of history and a Soviet occupation washed away this oil-rich country’s Kurdish past.

There are no accurate statistics about the number of Kurds in Shiite Muslim Azerbaijan, whose Kurdish population swelled after the Kurds were driven out by Christian Armenia following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, which brought independence to both neighbors.

In a country where only Kurds over 40 remember their mother tongue, the Ronahi Center for Kurdish Culture, which was established after independence, has been struggling to keep alive the country’s Kurdish heritage.

"Over the past 200 years, the Kurds of Azerbaijan have not had any connection with Kurdistan,” explained Fakhraddin Pashayev, the new head of the center.

“Also, the Kurds in this region are Shiites and this removed all the barriers between them and the Azeris. In such circumstances, it is natural for a minority to dissolve into a bigger majority," he said, confessing that his center has not done enough to forge ties with other Kurds.

“We could have reached out to all parts of Kurdistan," he said, explaining that the biggest reason for Azerbaijan losing its Kurdish past was Soviet occupation, during which Moscow had kept states under its sway isolated from the rest of the world.

Since independence, two Kurdish and Azeri newspapers are published in the capital Baku, and the state-run radio broadcasts a 30-minute program in Kurdish.

Pashayev said that about 25,000 Kurds had lived in the Zangazor region between Azerbaijan and Armenia according to reports dating to 1886. He believes that the Kurds of the region suffered their biggest setback after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"As a result of Armenia's occupational policies, all the Muslim Kurds in Armenia and Azerbaijan were displaced. Today they are all refugees. There are 15,000 Muslim Kurds from Armenia who are now refugees in Azerbaijan,” he said. “Now, even people from the same village have been separated and each family is somewhere else.”

He said that Kurds remaining in Armenia are not identified as Kurds, but as Yazidis. “The Kurds who fought against these Armenian policies were either killed or sent to exile," Pashayev said.

The Kurds of Azerbaijan, who speak the Kirmanji dialect that sounds very similar to the Kurds of Khorasan in Iran and Marash in Turkey, once controlled the autonomous Red Kurdish Republic in the region.

In 952 AD, in the southern Caucasus, the Kurds created the state of Shaddad, which included great parts of the current republics of Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia. The capital of Shaddad was the city of Ganja, which was ruled by the Kurds until 1164 AD.

One of the most renowned Kurdish historians, Sharaf khan Bitlisi (1543-1603), was the emir of the Salian region of Azerbaijan. Today, one of the country’s cities is called “Kurdmire.”

During Soviet rule, Azerbaijan consisted of 14 districts, one of which was Red Kurdistan. But when the districts system was abolished, it became incorporated into the new system.

Kurds cannot take advantage of provisions in the Azerbaijani constitution that protect minority rights, such as allowing native languages and cultural activities, Pashayev said.

“The Kurds cannot benefit from these articles in the constitution because they are scattered and do not live in the same region,” he explained.

Rudaw
Russian Girenak Joseph, who visited Kirkuk in Kurdistan as a part of his tour throu the 1870 - 1873 AD, who published the results of his trip & his studies later in 1879, in the 4th volume in the Bulletin of the Caucasus department of the Royal Geographical Russian Society estimated Kirkuk's population as many as 12-50,000 people, & he emphasized that except 40 Christian families, the rest of the population were Kurds. As for The Turkmen & Arabs, they have not been already existed at the time.
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ALAN
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KRG should trade them with the Azeri/turkmanistanis in Kirkuk
Russian Girenak Joseph, who visited Kirkuk in Kurdistan as a part of his tour throu the 1870 - 1873 AD, who published the results of his trip & his studies later in 1879, in the 4th volume in the Bulletin of the Caucasus department of the Royal Geographical Russian Society estimated Kirkuk's population as many as 12-50,000 people, & he emphasized that except 40 Christian families, the rest of the population were Kurds. As for The Turkmen & Arabs, they have not been already existed at the time.
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