Benazir Bhutto announces she is Kurdish


21 July 2003

[Summary:] Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has for the first time revealed that she is of Kurdish origin. Bhutto, noting that she feels herself to be Kurdish because her mother was a Kurd, said "My mother’s Kurdish culture played a big role in my becoming Prime Minister. I naturally have a great interest in the problems of the Kurdish people, and a solution of democracy and peace absolutely has to be found."

ROME Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has revealed that she is of Kurdish origin.


"My mother’s Kurdish culture played a big role in my becoming Prime Minister."

DEHAP [Democratic Peoples Party] European Representative Faik Yagizay, as well as CHP [Republican Peoples Party] leader Deniz Baykal, PUK [Patriotic Union of Kurdistan] leader Jalal Talabani, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, former Moroccan Prime Minister Abdurrahman Yusufi, and former Italian Prime Minister Massimo DAlema, all came together with the Socialist Internationals Kurdish Working Group Chairman Coni Fredericson at the conference on Iraq and Middle Eastern Peace sponsored by the Socialist International in Rome, which ended yesterday.

Bhutto stated that she is Kurdish

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who spoke for a time with Yagiz, said in this conversation for the first time that she is of Kurdish origin. Noting that she considered herself to be Kurdish because her mother was a Kurd, Bhutto said that "My mother’s Kurdish culture played a big role in my becoming Prime Minister. I naturally have a great interest in the problems of the Kurdish people, and a solution of democracy and peace absolutely has to be found.

DEHAP Representative Yagizay, in his discussion with CHP leader Baykal, called for the repentance law not to be supported in the TBMM [Turkish Grand National Assembly]. When Baykal asked about the incident in Tunceli, Yagizay reminded him of the statement of KADEK [Freedom and Democracy Congress of Kurdistan] that it will conduct retaliation attacks if the repentance law and [military] operations are imposed upon it. Baykal, for his part, said that the repentance law is not a solution, and that he found the incident in TUnceli to be regrettable.


"Turkey now has to resolve its Kurdish problem."

As for PUK leader Jalal Talabani, he said in his meeting with Yagizay that the position of the Kurds in Iraq has strengthened, and that Turkey now has to resolve its Kurdish problem. Talabani noted that Turkeys existing policy is not producing results. It has also been learned that developments related to the Kurdish issue were also taken up in Yagizays discussions with Massimo D’Alema, Fredericson, and other representatives.


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On December 2, 1988 Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islamic State.

In the preceding decade of political struggle, Ms. Bhutto was arrested on numerous occasions; in all she spent nearly 6 years either in prison or under detention for her dedicated leadership of the then opposition Pakistan Peoples Party. Throughout the years in opposition, she pledged to transform Pakistani society by focusing attention on programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged.

Since assuming the office of Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto has emphasized the need to heal past wounds and to put an end to the divisions in Pakistani society - including reducing discrimination between men and women. Ms. Bhutto has launched a nationwide program of health and education reform.

Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi in 1953. After completing her early education in Pakistan, she attended Radcliffe College and Oxford University. As well as obtaining a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, she also completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy at Oxford.

Ms. Bhutto is the author of "Foreign Policy in Perspective" (1978) and her autobiography, "Daughter of Destiny" (1989). She received the Bruno Kreisky Award for Human Rights in 1988 and the Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award from Radcliffe in 1989.

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Translated from Turkish by KurdishMedia.com; originally published in Yeniden Ozgur Gundem newspaper, 20 July 2003. for Turkish text