The history of the Kurdish people is one of blood, constant warfare, and manipulation. The Kurds are the most numerous remaining group of people who do not have a nation to call their own. Their homeland has been ruthlessly divided between countries that continue to deny their very existence. All together, an estimated twenty-three million Kurds are scattered among a remote and mostly mountainous region in the Middle East that spans the frontiers of Turkey, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Ever since the early days of the Ottoman Empire in the 1600s, the Kurds were given few rights and were not acknowledged as a separate group. With more than a quarter of the Kurdish population residing in Turkey, Kurds comprise one fifth of the Turkish population. Up until the first World War, the Kurds were a pastoral people who by tradition herded animals such as cattle, sheep, and goats. They migrated from one area to another depending on the season, and lived simple lives that revolved around the animals they herded.

In modern days, the Kurds speak languages related to the Farsi language of the Persians. The languages they speak vary in different regions; some major dialects are Kurmanji, Zaza, and Sorani. Sometimes a Kurd from one area cannot understand the language of a Kurd from a different area, a fact which other countries use to dispute the Kurds' capability of forming a free nation. Most Kurds belong to the Sunni sect of the Muslim religion, while others belong to the Alevite sect. The Kurds have their own traditions and culture. Despite their many attempts to gain independence, a united Kurdish nation has never actually existed.