Turkish Kurdish men chat in the village of Doruklu, in the border town of Silopi, near the Turkish-Iraqi border, in this picture taken July 5, 2014.REUTERS/Osman Orsal
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What has long been a dream for the Middle East's Kurds, an independent state, is within reach in Iraq, but Turkey's Kurds, wearied by a 30-year conflict with Ankara, see a brighter future at home, where negotiations could deliver the rights they have fought for.At Istanbul's Kurdish Institute, where 400 students are learning Kurdish, they are riveted by events across the border in Iraqi Kurdistan, which appears to be hurtling toward independence as state forces retreat and Sunni militants, led by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), an Al-Qaeda offshoot, seize parts of northern Iraq.That might not always have been the case, when Kurds and the Turkish state appeared beyond reconciliation after more than 40,000 people, mostly Kurds, were killed in an armed struggle led by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) since 1984 .Kurds are considered the largest ethnic group without a state – more than half of them living in Turkey – and their fate in Iraq will reverberate across the region.Officially, Turkey remains committed to Iraq's territorial unity.Kurds inhabit a mostly mountainous arc from Turkey and Syria into Iraq and Iran.
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