Kurds deserve our recognition

The international community should consider how to negotiate a democratic Kurdish state.

Jasper Johnson

In an unprecedented attack, terrorists killed almost 100 people last week in Ankara, Turkey, after two bombs went off during a peaceful protest. It was the deadliest attack of its kind on Turkish soil, and it likely targeted liberal Kurdish peace advocates. 
 
To give some background, the Kurds are Middle Eastern ethnic minorities who inhabit the region Kurdistan, which includes parts of Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria. They are arguably the largest stateless nation in the world, with about 30 million people. Naturally, the states that control Kurdish territory are opposed to ceding any land, so there are intense conflicts between Kurdish separatists and their host nations. 
 
Compared to many Middle Eastern countries, Kurdish areas generally tend to be progressive, democratic and more supportive of women. Kurdish groups have also spearheaded effective counterterrorism against the Islamic State.
 
In contrast, Turkey is, in my opinion, pointed in a dangerous direction. In the past few years, it has engaged in reckless and authoritarian policies totally out-of-line for an American ally or a country vying for membership in the European Union. Turkey has cracked down on free press and many journalists. 
 
Kurds are a neglected group when it comes to addressing Middle Eastern politics, and the international community needs to condemn Turkey for its discriminatory policies.
 
Foreign policy circles should seriously consider the idea of negotiating a liberal democratic state of Kurdistan. In the meantime, the United States needs to criticize Turkey for its oppressive stances and give more aid to Kurdish areas.