The Kurdish people, who have been living in their native land for centuries, have experienced countless human rights violations. They have endured massacres, ethnic cleansing, and even genocide. Today the regimes ruling them still deny their right to self-rule and put them through fraudulent and unjust trials. These regimes include Islamic Republic of Iran, the Turkish Republic - a Nato member since 1952 - and the Baathist regime of Syria and Iraq.
The enemies of Kurds continuously increase in number. Since last year, Syrian and Iraqi Kurdistan have been targeted by the Islamic State with the silent approval of the Turkish, Arabic, and Iranian "brothers" of the Kurds.
This enmity and cruelty can be said to result largely from Kurdophobia – one of the many diseases of the Middle East - that can be defined as a term for prejudice against, hatred towards, or irrational fear of the Kurdish nation. Kurdophobia has brought much pain, suffering and death to Kurds and an insatiable sense of satisfaction and dominion to their Turkish, Arabic and Iranian rulers. The latest attacks and rights violations against Kurds in the Middle East are clear consequences of this disease.
Iran Torturing, Hanging Kurds
On 20 February, the Iranian authorities put to death the Kurdish political prisoner Saman Naseem, Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported.
Naseem was sentenced to death in April 2013 by a criminal court for "enmity against God" and "corruption on earth" because of his membership in the the Party For Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), and for allegedly taking part in armed activities against the Revolutionary Guards.
In a letter, Naseem gave a harrowing account of how officials constantly tortured him for ninety-seven days to make him "confess" to a crime, and then sentenced him to death. He was seventeen.
"During the first days, the level of torture was so severe that it left me unable to walk. My whole body was black and blue," wrote Naseem in his letter. "They hung me by my hands and feet for hours. I was blindfolded during the whole period of interrogations and torture, and I could not see the interrogation and torture officers."
Two Kurdish brothers, Ali and Habib Afshari, were also hanged on 20 February, the Kurdistan Human Rights Network reported.
The brothers were given the death penalty for "corruption on earth" and "enmity against God" by the Iranian revolutionary court of Mahabad on 16 January 2012.
And on 4 March, six Kurdish prisoners - Jamshid and Jahangir Dehgani (brothers), Hamed Ahmadi and Kamal Molayee, Sedigh Mohammadi and Hadi Hosseini - were executed in Rajaishahr prison of Karaj.
They had been subjected to torture, ill-treatment and an unfair trial, Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported.
Isis Invasion of Kirkuk and Sinjar
In early June 2014, the Islamic State (Isis) invaded Kirkuk, where under various Arab dictatorships, Kurds had experienced many episodes of mass deportation and ethnic cleansing. On 12 June, Kurdish military Peshmerga advanced and took the city from IS after government forces abandoned their posts in the face of the Islamists' invasion.
The next target of the IS was Yazidis, a Kurdish ethno-religious group that has links to Zoroastrianism and ancient Mesopotamian religions. In August 2014, IS forces invaded the Yazidi town of Sinjar.
Many reports by the media and human rights groups have detailed the torture, rape and sexual violence suffered by Yazidi girls and women at the hands of IS militants. Those who have converted to Islam have reportedly been forced to "marry" Isis militants. Those preserving their faith have been sold as sex slaves, abused and imprisoned. According to a report by Amnesty International, many Yazidi girls commit suicide after being raped and sold into sexual slavery by IS militants.
"IS fighters abducted hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yazidi men, women, and children who were fleeing the IS takeover of the Sinjar region, in the north-west of the country," the report said. "Hundreds of the men were killed, and others were forced to convert to Islam under threat of death. Younger women and girls, some as young as twelve, were separated from their parents and older relatives and sold, given as gifts, or forced to marry IS fighters and supporters. Many have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment, including rape and other forms of sexual violence, and have likewise been pressured into converting to Islam."
Siege of Kobani
During the Syrian Civil War, in July 2012, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) captured the Kurdish province of Kobanî, which had been ruled by the Syrian Baathist regime. Since then, the city has been under de facto Kurdish autonomous administration.
In September 2014, the Islamic State launched a massive attack against Kobani. Some refugees related torture, mutilation, murder and rape as Isis closed in on the besieged province. Also, the IS beheaded Kurdish defenders including women, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. After months of resistance, in late January 2015, the YPG along with Peshmerga reinforcements, as well as US-led Coalition airstrikes, retook Kobani, forcing IS to retreat.
When the Turkish Republic was established in 1923, one of the primary policies of the new state was to deny the existence of Kurds and Kurdistan. And this denial continues even today: The word "Kurdistan" is still banned in Turkey.
In September 2014, for instance, the Turkish interior ministry rejected the application of a group of 70 lawyers in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir to establish the Association of Lawyers of Kurdistan on grounds that "it contains the words 'Kurdistan' and 'co-presidency.'" The directorate of associations of the governor's office of Diyarbakir filed a criminal complaint against the directors of the Association.
In April 2014, state authorities in Diyarbakir ordered the newly established Kurdistan Association of Industrialists and Business People to remove the word 'Kurdistan' from its name and charter, stating that the use of the word is against the Turkish constitution and criminal law.
In August 2013, the Turkish interior ministry banned the name of the Kurdistan Youth Movement Association, warning its founders that they would be sentenced to life in prison if they did not change the name of their association.
A Bold Voice in the West
Despite the incessantly repressive policies of the Middle Eastern states, Western political leaders are finally coming up with bold and righteous solutions for the Kurdistan issue. One of them is American Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), the likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, who called for giving the Kurds their own country to defend against radical Islamists.
"Part of the problem is the Kurds aren't getting enough arms," Paul said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News. "The Kurds are the best fighters. The arms are going through Baghdad to get to the Kurds and they're being siphoned off and they're not getting what they need. I think any arms coming from us or coming from any European countries ought to go directly to the Kurds. They seem to be the most effective and most determined fighters."
Paul's suggestion was not only about arming the Kurds; he went on to defend the Kurds' right to self-determination. "But I would go one step further," he said. "I would draw new lines for Kurdistan and I would promise them a country."
The historic remarks of Mr. Paul are an expression of the fact that he is one of the few Western leaders who are able to truly comprehend the nature of the Kurdistan issue and the just, fair and productive way to resolve it – both for the Kurds and the West.
The first question to ask to be able to understand the significance of Mr. Paul's proposal as well as the nature of the Kurdistan issue is why we are not able to show Kurdistan, the native land of Kurds, on a world map. The answer is that during the 1920s, Kurdistan was divided into four parts, among Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.
The artificial borders of the region that were drawn by the Sykes-Picot agreement in the aftermath of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire led to the division, occupation and colonization of Kurdistan. Ever since, Kurds – without a state of their own - have been the victims of Turkish, Arabic and Iranian supremacy.
Without understanding the process by which Kurdistan was divided, shared, and separated among the oppressor states of the region, the accusations that Kurds are "illegal" or "separatists" have no meaning.
Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist who writes for IBTimes UK about Turkey and Kurdistan.