Anyway, the Turkish military junta of the 1980s considered Kurdish a big enough issue that they passed a law banning it. Yup, the whole Language. Made it a felony.
"What are you in for, dude?"
"Armed robbery. How 'bout you?"
"Oh, I fucked up and said 'Good morning' in Kurdish."
"Shit, dude, that's serious! Don't sit next to me, what if the guards see? I like having eyes and fingers an' shit, man, so fuck off, troublemaker!"
Kurdish turns out to be this hillbilly version of Persian, not Turkish. There's still a whole lot of professors making a harmless living arguing whether it's even a single language or a bunch of dialects. (You know what a dialect is, don't you? Old joke but good joke: A dialect doesn't have an air force.)
The one thing that these professors can agree on is that Kurdish has nothing to do with Turkish. Ataturk's bit that the Kurds were just the Turks' country cousins went down the drain right there. The Turks went back to the sort of argument they were better at, like beating Kurdish troublemakers to death and dragging their bodies around their home villages at the back of an M113 to show the locals how sad and unnecessary all this ethnic nonsense was. You know, hearts'n'minds stuff.
The complicating factor is that the very same thing was going on in the two other countries that got superimposed on the peanut shape of Kurdistan, Iran and Iraq. In all three countries, you got Kurds staging ragged local uprisings with zero chance of success, and in all three countries you got paramilitary troops shooting and torturing them to persuade them to work within the system.
For 80 years the Kurds got nowhere. It's a long, pointless story full of the Barzani family, the Kurds' pitiful excuse for an Ataturk, but the one amazing thing it shows is that even middle eastern governments can sometimes have enough sense to resist that crap about "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." Seriously, that proverb is one of the dumbest things ever. The enemy of your enemy is usually your enemy, too. And whoa, will miracles never cease as my grandma used to say, most of the time the sleazes running Iraq, Iran and Turkey had enough sense not to let any of the Kurdish militias get strong enough to give the Kurds any of their so-called "rights" to their own country.
The actual military history of the Kurds vs. Everybody wars of the 20th century are pretty cool, as long as you recall that the military details are pointless. I'll talk about the fighting in my next column, but the reason I did all this lead-up first is because I'm not going to lie to you and say that the real fulcrum, the real decider in this war, was the lousy skirmishes that gave the bodies those Turkish (or Iranian or Iraqi) troops used to drag through Kurdish villages behind their APCs. That's nothing. And that, friends, is the saddest thing about modern war, the way it makes the fun part, the shooting, damn near irrelevant.