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Zazaistan (Turkey)

Area and flags of uncertain status

Last modified: 2003-12-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: zaza | zazaistan | zazakistan | letter: z |
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[Zazaistan? flag]by Jaume Ollé

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Zazas and "Zazaistan"

The Alevis or Zazas are a minority (70.000) according to Le Monde) living in the territories that were the old Turkoman emirate of Danishmend. Their name mean "Ali partisan" and they emigrated from Babylon in the VIIth century and were later converted to Shiism. The Zazas are divided into 28 tribes, each of them being ruled by a dominant clan.

Jaume Ollé, 10 October 1998

The status of Zazas is explained in a paper by Martin van Bruinessen, from the Turkish and Kurdish Studies Department, Utrecht University (The Netherlands), as follows:

"Meanwhile in Europe Zaza-speaking Kurds - some of them Sunnis, other Alevis - were bringing about a minor revival of Zaza literature, in the margin of the remarkable resurgence of Kurmanci literary activities. A minority among them began perceiving the Zaza as a distinct ethnic group that had to liberate itself from cultural domination by Kurds as well as the Turkish state. This Zaza 'nationalism' still is largely a matter of exile politics, and it may still appear as a marginal phenomenon, but gradually it is also influencing the debate