The small Kurdish community in Spain – Kurdish news

Located between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, the Kurds constitute the largest nation without a state of their own, with almost 35 million inhabitants, almost 2,000 of them in Spain and mainly devoted to the restaurant sector.

Because they have such a small number on the peninsula, political scientist and Middle East researcher at the Autonomous University of Madrid, Cristina de Lucio, explained to the Efe news agency that the Kurds living in Spain are not as involved in activism as their compatriots in countries such as Germany or Sweden.

“There is a small community because Spain has never been a target, it is a transit country, it is not a country that is in the preferences of the Kurds who emigrate, because in general there are other countries, such as Germany, that have a stronger economy, and there are more opportunities there,” explains De Lucio.

A decrease in the number of refugees

But as the Kurdish doctor Mustafa Abdi explained, the number of Kurds in Spain was slightly higher six or seven years ago than it is today, mainly because of refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

The region’s instability is defined by the fragile governments established more than a hundred years ago by the Sykes-Picot Treaty signed in 1916, which signed the new Middle East after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.

It was then that the Kurdish community was divided between Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran, and their territories in these countries became Bakûr, Şoran, Rojava and Rojhilat. It is that there are very strong roots between the Kurds and their territories. Thus, they consider themselves to belong to their community before the nationality shown in their passport.

“I was born in Iraqi Kurdistan, I am a Kurd living in a country called Iraq,” Ayden Ostan, acting representative of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government in Spain, told EFE.

“First of all, we identify ourselves as Kurds,” admitted former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) deputy to the EU, Faruk Doru, who declared that the creation of nation-states in the area is not the pattern of cities or settlements, but economic importance. .

Therefore, on a cultural level, the Kurds in the four countries are more united through language or music. In this sense, de Lucio identified the two strongest unifying axes of all the Kurds: the Kurdish New Year, called Newroz and celebrated on March 20, and the Battle of Kawa, a myth that is part of the city’s historical memory.

History of the Kurds in Spain

Aboard a merchant ship that sailed from Beirut and stopped in Alexandria, Naples and Marseille until it reached Barcelona, ​​it took Abdi a week in the 1970s to set foot on Spanish soil.

This retired Kurdish man, who worked in dispensaries in several cities, as well as in the San Carlos Clinical Hospital and the Severo Ochoa University Hospital in Madrid, explained to Efe how, after his trip to Spain, he managed to start his studies here even in times of dictatorship .

“I came as a student, we had little money, and as a Kurd I did not receive a scholarship from the Syrian state,” Abdi said.

The motivations to migrate can be diverse, although they usually respond to a lack of resources or war conflicts, as was the case with Ayden Ostan, who emigrated to England in the late 1990s because of the war and for a few more years until he settled in Spain. .

Ostan explained that Iraqi Kurdistan had a closer relationship with Spain between 2013 and 2017 through the scholarships awarded to students. In these years, the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government Foundation supervised travel and contact with the universities for between 20 and 25 students.

“I was practically the first Kurd in school, and at first there was rejection,” recalls Doru, who was born in the Turkish part of Mount Ararat.

A long time has passed since the time when, according to Doru, the culture of the Kurds was not accepted, and although he did not arrive in Europe as a refugee, he has now declared that he cannot return to Turkey because of his statements in Parliament, Europe or in the media.

Despite its remote location from the Middle East, according to Ostan, Spain has distinctive features it shares with the Kurds. The young people here remind him of his childhood in Kurdistan, Iraq, and the way the Spanish speak “a little louder” from the common customs, which he describes as “beautiful”.

SOURCE: Cristina Dimitrescu / EFE

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