Association heard talk on the condition of the Kurdish people in the Middle East


Members the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association heard a talk on the condition of the Kurdish people in the Middle East at the group’s Aug. 31 meeting.

"It’s estimated that there’s between 25 million and up to 40 million (Kurds)," Osman Cen of the Chicago Kurdish Cultural Center said. "They are the largest stateless minority in the world."

Cen said that the cultural center, 4803 N. Milwaukee Ave., holds Kurdish language classes and works to build relationships among people of different backgrounds.

The majority of Kurds live in a mountainous region known as Kurdistan, which spreads across parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and attempts to achieve Kurdistan independence have been meet with strong opposition, Cen said.

Center representative Gonul Duzer said that the Kurds have been the victims of bombings and poisonous gas attacks. Duzer said that in some instances the Turkish government has falsely blamed Islamic State terrorists for attacks.

Turkey recently suspended 11,000 Turkish teachers because of their suspected ties to a Kurdish separation group the Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Turkey regards the group as a terrorist organization, but the United States reportedly has used fighters from the organization to help force Islamic State militants out of regions that they once controlled.

It also was reported that the association is collecting signatures on a petition against a proposed 13-story building at the northeast corner of Lipps Avenue and Ainslie Street, adjacent to the Jefferson Park CTA terminal. An association member estimated that 750 signatures have been collected.

The association and the Jefferson Park Chamber of Commerce will hold a community garage sale from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, in the parking lot of the Copernicus Center, 5216 W. Lawrence Ave. Applications to participate in the sale are available at

The next association meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Congregational Church of Jefferson Park, 5320 W. Giddings St.