Kurdish self-identification in Turkey doubles in 10 years – study

Turkish citizens who self-identify as Kurdish have almost doubled between 2008 and 2018, according to the 2018 Lifestyles and Gender report by pollster Konda.

The ratio of men who self-identified as Kurdish rose from 9 percent in 2008 to 16 percent in 2018, with the 2008 data including the Zaza ethnicity among the Kurdish population, the study found.

In 2018, two per cent of men identified as Zaza, an ethnic group related to Kurds.

Eight per cent of women self-identified as Kurdish and Zaza in 2008, and the ratio doubled to 16 per cent in 2018.

The survey, conducted with a total of 5,793 people throughout Turkey, said the almost doubling in the percentage of citizens of Turkey who identify as Kurdish is in part due to the increase in population.

“However, we believe it has had an impact that the Kurdish identity has become more recognised among Kurds, and that Kurds have become more comfortable in openly expressing their identity,” it said. 

Respect for diversity has also increased in the country over the last decade, according to the report, albeit to a lesser extent than the increase in the Kurdish-identified population.

Only 57 per cent of participants in 2018 said they would agree to their children marrying someone from a different ethnic group, up from 54 per cent in 2008.

Religious tolerance has increased further within this timeframe, with 56 and 40 per cent of participants in 2018 saying they would agree to their children marrying someone from a different sect and religion respectively, up from 44 and 30 per cent in 2008.