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News

THE KURDS. A PEOPLE WITHOUT A LAND?

Andreas Delsett

The Eight International Saladin days in Oslo 12th to 16th of April 2016, with Selahattin Demirtas, Choman Hardi, Kawa Nemir, Ferhat Tunc and more

The Kurds are fighting ISIS in Kobane and controlling a de facto autonomous region in the northern parts of a civil war-ravaged Syria. In Turkey, the Kurdish coalition party HDP surpassed the 10% election threshold in June 2015, ensuring president Erdogan's party AKP's first loss of parliamentary majority since they came to power in 2002. Erdogan responded by calling off the peace talks with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), and saw the country plunged into a civil war-like state. In Northern Iraq, one no longer talks about Northern Iraq but of Kurdistan, where president Masoud Barzani controls a region with a high degree of autonomy, an economy on the rise – until recently, with both the will and the strength to act as a regional player.

In a few years, the Kurds have gone from a marginal existence as the world's largest nation without a state to playing a key role in a Middle East creaking at the seams. Where does the road go from here? Many are saying that the borders in the region will have to be redrawn, and with the growing number of assaults on civilians taking place, more and more people are asking how the rights and the safety of the region's many minorities might be ensured. What part will the Kurds play in this situation? Is it possible to envision a new peace process in Turkey? And what will be the outcome for the Kurds of the Syrian civil war?

This political development forms the backdrop for the International Saladin Days 2016, where writers, intellectuals, artists and activists gather to discuss thehistory, literature, language and outlook of the Kurdish people. Among the confirmed participants are HDP chairman Selahattin Demirtas, writers Choman Hardi and Kawa Nemir, and singer Ferhat Tunc. Further information, more participants and a program will follow shortly.