Mad Dreams of Independence
The Kurds of Turkey and the PKKby
Politics has always been a difficult and risky business for Kurdish nationalists in Turkey. The hegemony today of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), with its history of dogmatic Marxism-Leninism and its attachment to armed struggle, is very much a reflection of the refusal of successive Turkish nationalist regimes to accommodate Kurdish aspirations for cultural and political autonomy.
The stirrings of progressive Kurdish nationalist politics in Turkey date to the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Kurdish intellectuals in Istanbul and Ankara formed cultural clubs and organizations. The summer of 1967 saw mass student demonstrations in 19 Kurdish cities and towns, including 10,000 marchers in Silvan and 25,000 in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır.