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Zaza nationalism


Zaza nationalism

Zaza nationalism, is an ideology that supports the preservation of Zaza people between Turks and Kurds in Turkey. The movement also supports that Zaza people is a different ethnic group from Kurdish people.

Zaza-majority areas in Turkey.

The movement first appeared among Zaza diaspora in 1980s. Zaza people opposed to Kurdish preventions for Zaza language journals in Europe. Another factor is that Zaza people were not obliged to learn Turkish or Kurdish. Thus, the free environment contributed them to learn Zaza language and caused to increase of Zaza sentiments.[1]

Ebubekir Pamukcu is seen as the initiator of the Zaza nationalism and the first user of the term 'Zazaistan'. He published Ayre and Piya journals on Zaza language and expressed his opinions. He supports the idea of separating Zazas from Kurdish influence and indicates that Zaza people has been denied by both Turkish state and Kurdish nationals for decades.[2]

Supporters of Zaza nationalism are afraid of being assimilated by Turkish and Kurdish influence. They indicate of protecting Zaza culture, language and heritage rather than seeking any kind of autonomy within Turkey.[3]

The opponents of Zaza nationalism are generally Kurdish nationalists and PKK supporters. They consider Zaza people and language as a branch of Kurdish population.[4] PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan criticized Zaza movements as 'a tool to weaken Kurdish consciousness' and alleged that MİT was behind the movement.[5]


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  3. ^ Zulfü Selcan, Grammatik der Zaza-Sprache, Nord-Dialekt (Dersim-Dialekt), Wissenschaft & Technik Verlag, Berlin, 1998, p. 23.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Unpublished interview by Paul White with PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan, at the Mahsum Korkmaz Akademisi, Lebanon, July 2, 1992.
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