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A Kurdish People, The Kurdish Questions

The killing of three Kurdish activists in Paris shines new light on a longstanding fact of a millions of people spread across large swaths of terrritory, but with no nation of their own.

Kurdish flag flies bright
Kurdish flag flies bright
Dietrich Alexander

BERLIN - The Kurdish question urgently requires a solution. With around 30 million people, the Kurds are the largest of the world’s peoples without their own state. About half of the Kurds live in Turkey, the rest in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

None of these countries show much interest – either on the part of the majority of the population or the government – in Kurdish independence, autonomy or a federative solution. An independent Kurdistan in Turkey, Iraq or even Syria would not only draw Kurds from surrounding states but also spur separatist efforts in those states.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Inside Russia’s Revival Of Stalinist “Filtration Camps”

Though different than concentration camps constructed by Nazis, the “filtration” facilities nevertheless recalls a brutal history, and have been reopened under Putin, and ramped up since the invasion of Ukraine.

Civilians leaving Mariupol on foot

Anna Akage

"It was like a true concentration camp."

This is how Oleksandr, a 49-year-old man from Mariupol, described where he and his wife Olena were taken in by Russian security officers. Speaking to a reporter for the BBC, the couple was fingerprinted, photographed and interrogated for hours, and their phones searched for material that could somehow identify them as “Nazis.”

But there is another name given to that these locations, and the process, that have been set up to handle Ukrainians taken into custody in areas occupied by pro-Russian separatists: They’re called: “filtration camps.”

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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