Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Relations

Reader 1

Kristin Fabbe

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© 2014 Pieter B. Cornel


The Kurds are the largest stateless ethnic group in the world, numbering around 30 million globally, and after more than a century of fighting for self-determination the tangible success is minimal. Turkey and Iraq both have significant Kurdish populations that are growing in size respective to the Turkish and Arab communities, and yet the only semi-autonomous territory the Kurds have is the Iraqi province of Kurdistan. With continued instability in the Middle East, and an increasingly powerful, numerous, and ideological Kurdish community present, the recipe for conflict is present. This thesis analyzes the Kurdish claim for self-determination, and the different levels of success the groups in Turkey and Iraq have faced, through secondary literature. A multi-level approach reveals how complex the Kurdish Question really is, and what other minority groups and national governments can learn from the Kurds' experience.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.