Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zaza Nationalism

This is the first I've heard of the Zazas:
"Until recently, speakers of the Zaza language within Turkey have been considered part of the vast Kurdish ethnic group spread over Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria. In the 1980s, the creation of a Latin alphabet suitable for Zaza-language publishing created a renewal in Zaza literature and culture, leading to the development of a type of Zaza nationalism that some Kurds suspect is inspired by Turkey’s intelligence agencies as a means of dividing the Kurds and weakening the Kurdish militants of the Kurdistan Workers Party (Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan - PKK).

"Zaza nationalism is still opposed by some Zaza-speakers who consider themselves Kurds. [1] Zaza nationalism is focused on the Zazaki dialect and native Zazaki speakers in Turkey. Some Zaza nationalists also want an independent Zaza homeland called Zazaistan in Turkey, potentially weakening the appeal of the PKK among speakers of the Zazaki dialect...

"The recent discussion about “mother language education” in Turkey and the policy of the Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi - AKP) government to open a Kurdish-language television station could strengthen the divisions between Kurmanci and Zaza speakers (see Terrorism Focus, January 13). The current TRT 6 channel only broadcasts in Kurmanci, but there are also plans to broadcast in the “Kurdish dialects Zaza and Sorani” (Hurriyet, January 2). This was welcomed by several Zaza speakers (, January 7). On internet forums, however, Zaza nationalists have already emphasized that they want a Zaza channel, not a Kurdish Kurmanci channel."

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