After decades of warfare between Turkey and the Kurdish militants of the PKK, a basis for peace was hammered out recently between the guerilla's imprisoned leader, Abdullah Ocalan, and the Turkish government. The conflict has claimed more than 40,000 lives
Turkey, jailed PKK leader agree on "roadmap" | Politics | World Bulletin
There are Kurdish enclaves in Turkey, Iran, Syria and in northern Iraq, where they have had a level of autonomy since the end of the Gulf War and a genocidal campaign of chemical warfare waged by Saddam Hussein.
Relations with the federal government in Baghdad have deteriorated in a dispute over oil in Kurdistan and the arrival of the world's biggest oil companies there to start exploration and production. Kurdistan has a so-far estimated forty five billion barrels of oil reserves and this figure is expected to grow significantly with further tests.
At the heart of the latest attempts to get the PKK to lay down its arms are the growing economic ties between Turkey and Kurdistan. Turkey desparately needs gas and oil and pipelines from Kurdistan are being built to accommodate this. As Kurdistan moves towards complete political and economic independence from Iraq, the fear in Washington and elsewhere is the break-up of Iraq and the role of Iran in the region.
While Turkey seems willing to grant some limited autonomy to its Kurdish population, and Syria's Kurds look to secede in a Syrian break-up, a Greater Kurdistan still seems some way off.
This morning comes news of the execution-style killings of three Kurdish women in Paris, one of whom was a co-founder of the PKK.
BBC News - Three Kurdish women activists killed in Paris
Oil, politics and the struggle for statehood are all playing out in what will some day be the Middle East's new Dubai. Kurdistan is thriving while Iraq still languishes in the dark ages, plagued by corruption.
It's a fascinating story.