Kurdistan is literally the “land of the Kurds,” a territory without an official state that is usually described as being located in southeastern Turkey, northern Iraq, western Iran, and northeastern Syria, along with smaller swathes of territory in Azerbaijan and Armenia. The majority of the terrain is characterized by the steep plateaus and austere mountains of the Zagros and eastern Taurus Mountains. The actual territories that constitute Kurdistan have fluctuated over centuries, contracting and expanding in response to pressures from outside powers, including the Persians, the Arabs, and the Ottomans. The designation Kurdistan was first introduced by the Seljuks in the 12th century as a geographical term. Today, Kurdistan is the self-proclaimed nation-state of the Kurds, although not a recognized sovereign entity.

The Kurds are the ...

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