Geographical distribution

The traditional Kurdish speaking area stretches from eastern Anatolia, beginning in the vicinity of Erzincan and Elazig in Turkey, eastwards to the region of Urmia in Iran, including the northeastern regions of Syria around Qamishli, southwards to include the provinces of Duhok, Mosul, Kirkuk, Suleimaniya and Khaneqin in Iraq and Mahabad in Iran, and in the north to the Armenian border and beyond. Diaspora communities of Kurdish-speakers have existed since the Ottoman period in Lebanon, Georgia, Azerbaijan and in Central Asia, and more have established themselves since the 1960s in western Europe, especially in Stockholm, Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, London and Paris, and in the urban centres of western Turkey, especially Istanbul and Izmir. Estimates of speaker numbers vary considerably, but a total of 15-20 million is not unrealistic.

Geographical distribution of Kurdish