Why Turkey is wary of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO bid.
Anthropologists, archaeologists and historians believe that the Kurds and Armenians were among the earliest to arrive and settle in eastern Turkey. Kurds lived in the Mesopotamian plains and mountains as long as 3,500 years ago, according to Dr. Knappert, a specialist in Oriental studies. The Middle East is home to an estimated 20 to 25 million Kurds. They are one of the world's largest ethnic groups without their own state. Their country is divided between Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran. Turkey has the largest Kurdish population. According to the CIA Factbook, Kurds make up around 10% of the Syrian, 18% Turkish, and 15% of the Iraqi population.
At the time of disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, the British separated the three southeastern provinces of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, together with a significant chunk of Iranian land east of the Tigris, and renamed it Mesopotamia, or Iraq in Arabic. All of this was done due to Arab and Turkish phobia, as the Western allies in London were ready to establish Israel on Palestinian territory. To give their invasion credibility, the British installed Faysal of the Hashim dynasty as King of Iraq in 1921. They promised the Kurds independence, but it never materialized.
According to Bruinessen (anthropologist and author), the new secular Turkish state considered the Turkish nation as a homogeneous entity and ideologically negated the recognition of any ethnic minority including the Kurds. Any other identity was viewed as a threat by the secular government. Scholars such as Kirişci and Winrow said that for years, Turkish governments have repeatedly ignored Kurdish presence. Until the 1990s, the Turkish state discouraged or openly prohibited a separate Kurdish ethnic identity, including the restriction of Kurdish publications, radio and television shows, and Kurdish-language religious activities, among other forms of political and economic repression. In fact, Kurds were portrayed as traitors and villains in Turkish society.
“Iraq: The Valley of the Wolves,” was a film released in 2006 with the highest budget and viewership in Turkish cinema history. The film is about a dark and deadly location where howling and violent ‘wolves,’ namely Americans and Kurds, congregate... and convey the notion that “Kurds are traitors of the state... They are accomplices of external powers in all the states in which they live.”