Theme in the Hungarian Universities
the Socialist era, there have been no Kurdish studies in Hungary and almost no
publications on the Kurds. All the Kurdish-related material in Hungarian
libraries was coming from abroad and mostly the USSR. As in the case with the
foreign policy, Hungary together with other socialist states had to follow the
Moscow definitions of "progressive" and "reactionary"
there are a couple of nuances for the Kurdish topic in Hungary. First of all, a
book of Kurdish fairy tales was translated from Russian by Judit Pór and Dóra
Apart from this, in 1964-1966, the Department of Iranian Studies of the Eötvös
Loránd University (ELTE) in Budapest had set up the Kurdish language classes
led by Iraqi Kurd Mr Farouk Hafid who later emigrated to Sweden.
appears that the Kurdish theme was of no validity in economic contacts between
Hungary and the four countries with the Kurdish minority problems - Turkey,
Iran, Iraq, and Syria. As is seen from the work of Kemény, even those contacts
were of minor importance for Hungarian economy which in
terms of foreign trade was rather oriented towards the Socialist (65 %)
and Western states (26 %).
1980s and later, that is, closer to the time of changes in the whole Socialist
block, Hungarian and foreign doctoral candidates started to be dealing with the
past and present of the Middle East. Apart from the above mentioned dissertation
of Kemény, there were eleven dissertations defended in Hungary: three on the
Ottoman period in Hungarian history and eight about various aspects of the
modern Middle Eastern politics and economy.
far as the Ottoman topic is concerned, the dissertations had no word on the
Kurds, the fact which has already been elaborated. Thus, for the Hungarian
scholars, the Ottoman army and administration were free of nationality issues.
regard to the Middle Eastern topic, they somehow reflect the image of the Kurds
in the academic circles of Hungary. Though only one of them is written by the
Hungarian national, all of them had Hungarian supervisors and opponents and
became possible in the atmosphere of total avoidance of the Kurdish factor.
three dissertations about Syria, defended in 1983 and 1984, refer to the Kurdish
issue. This includes notes on the projects to divide the Ottoman Empire and
create, on its territory, several national states including Kurdistan. Mr
Nassouri and Mrs Ács mention that some of Syrian richest landlords who later
would enter politics, either directly or using dependent figures, were Kurds.
Moreover, Ács - perhaps because of her Hungarian background - is more devoted
to the ethnic and religious mosaic of Syria, which also involves the Kurds.
The Iraqi dissertations could not avoid evaluation of the Kurdish problem. Mr Amin Ali is definitely hostile to the demands of "the Kurdish terrorists", even hesitating to use the term Kurdistan. The same attitude is displayed by Mr Mahmoud, who, while analysing technological development in Iraq, throws angry arrows against "terrorist activities of Kurdish nationalists".
Mrs Ali speaks of the role of agriculture in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan in a more professional, less emotional manner. This is her typical quotation: "In Iraq wheat production was unstable due to the political unrest in Kurdistan. Seventy five percent of the wheat area of Iraq is in Kurdistan... Political stability in Kurdistan will play a decisive role in increasing wheat output".
Halima discusses the conflicts in the Gulf area and the UN role. His main
argument is that all the regional conflicts since 1950s have chiefly been caused
by oil factor. Halima’s references to the Kurds are neutral and informative,
being correct in factual terms. His following remarks deserve to be provided:
Kurds came originally from the Middle of Asia a very long time ago. They have
their own features, traditions, history, language and culture yet they are Sunni
Muslims. Since the end of the 19th century, they have been struggling to
establish a Kurdish state”.
Kurds in Iraq were recognized as a people, having their own cultural identity
and granted full status as Iraqi citizens. It was hoped that the Kurds and the
Arabs would be integrated to form the Iraqi nation. After the independence, the
upsurge of pan-Arabism by the new generation, raised the Kurdish suspicion about
the future of their identity".
expert in international law, Mr Aksha in his Human Rights in the Arab World, pays a particular attention to the
atrocities committed against the Kurds and other civilians in Syria, Turkey,
Iran and especially Iraq.
addition to establishing links between Kurds and Hungarian mass media reporters,
Dr Moustafa Mousa was consulted by József Benke who extensively refers to the
Kurdish issue in his very informative and objective book Az
arab országok története [A history of the Arab countries]. It contains
data on the Kurdish issue in Syria and Iraq some of which is hard to obtain