21 Facts About Kurdistan


Geographically, Kurdistan roughly encompasses the northwestern Zagros and the eastern Taurus mountain ranges.

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Iraqi Kurdistan first gained autonomous status in a 1970 agreement with the Iraqi government, and its status was re-confirmed as the autonomous Kurdistan Region within the federal Iraqi republic in 2005.

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Kurdistan means "Land of the Kurds" and was first attested in 11th-century Seljuk chronicles.

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The 19th-century Kurdistan Eyalet was the first time that the Ottoman Empire used the term 'Kurdistan' to refer to an administrative unit rather than a geographical region.

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Kurdistan in the Middle Ages was a collection of semi-independent and independent states called emirates.

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Kurdistan described a battle near Amid and Siverek in 1062 as to have taken place in Kurdistan.

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Later use of the term Kurdistan is found in Empire of Trebizond documents in 1336 and in Nuzhat al-Qulub, written by Hamdallah Mustawfi in 1340.

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Amid the withdrawal of Iraqi forces from three northern provinces, Kurdistan Region emerged in 1992 as an autonomous entity inside Iraq with its own local government and parliament.

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The weakening of the Iraqi state following the 2014 Northern Iraq offensive by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has presented an opportunity for independence for Iraqi Kurdistan, augmented by Turkey's move towards acceptance of such a state although it opposes moves toward Kurdish autonomy in Turkey and Syria.

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Kurdistan has been characterized as an "international colony" by the scholar Ismail Besikci.

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Iraqi Kurdistan is divided into six governorates, three of which are under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government.

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Iranian Kurdistan encompasses Kurdistan Province and the greater parts of West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah, and Ilam provinces.

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Syrian Kurdistan is located primarily in northern Syria, and covers the province of Al Hasakah and northern Raqqa Governorate, northern Aleppo Governorate and Jabal al-Akrad region.

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Turkish Kurdistan encompasses a large area of Eastern Anatolia Region and southeastern Anatolia of Turkey and it is home to an estimated 6 to 8 million Kurds.

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Northern, northwestern and northeastern parts of Kurdistan are referred to as upper Kurdistan, and includes the areas from west of Amed to Lake Urmia.

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Kurdistan is one of the most mountainous regions in the world with a cold climate receiving annual precipitation adequate to sustain temperate forests and shrubs.

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Kurdistan is a region relatively rich in water, especially for countries in the Middle East region.

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Plateaus and mountains of Kurdistan, which are characterized by heavy rain and snow fall, act as a water reservoir for the Near and Middle East, forming the source of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, as well as other numerous smaller rivers, such as the Little Khabur, Khabur, Tharthar, Ceyhan, Araxes, Kura, Sefidrud, Karkha, and Hezil.

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In November 2011, Exxon challenged the Iraqi central government's authority with the signing of oil and gas contracts for exploration rights to six parcels of land in Kurdistan, including one contract in the disputed territories, just east of the Kirkuk mega-field.

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Notable companies active in Kurdistan include ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, Talisman Energy, Genel Energy, Hunt Oil, Gulf Keystone Petroleum, and Marathon Oil.

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In July 2012, Turkey and the Kurdistan Region signed an agreement by which Turkey will supply the KRG with refined petroleum products in exchange for crude oil.

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