The Institute for Solidarity Economics and Corporate Watch have put together this website, which collates many of the available articles on the internet about the co-operative economy in the Kurdistan region of the Middle East. As well as articles that have been published in English, articles are also being translated from Turkish, Kurmanji, German, Spanish and Arabic and put into one place.

The project is aimed at gathering together the available information on co-operatives in Bakur and Rojava and making this easily accessible.

Why Rojava and Bakur?

The co-operative movement in Rojava (the democratic, autonomous region in the north of Syria) and Bakur (the mostly-Kurdish region which lies within Turkey’s borders) is thriving. In Rojava, a revolution is taking place, based on the political model of Democratic Confederalism, and within this system, workers’ co-operatives play an integral part in reshaping the economy. People in Rojava are taking collective control of their lives and their workplaces. In Bakur, co-operatives have been set up within a similar model of Democratic Autonomy, despite the ongoing military repression by the state of Turkey.

What is our aim?

To provide an English language information resource for the co-operative and solidarity economy movements. To make it easier for folk who wish to better understand what is happening in the region, and to learn about the alternative economic changes that are underway.

The more knowledge that we have of the achievements of the co-operative movement in the Kurdish regions, the more we can support and learn from our fellow co-operators there and the revolutionary way that they are transforming their economy under very challenging conditions.

Language we have used

We use the term ‘Kurdistan’ to refer to the geographic region that spans the modern states of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq, where the majority of the population self-identify as Kurdish.

The term ‘Bakur’ means ‘North’ in Kurmanji Kurdish and is the common term for the area of Kurdistan which lies within the borders of Turkey.

Similarly, ‘Rojava’ means ‘West’ in Kurmanji, and is the name for the region of Kurdistan within Syria’s borders. It is also the name given to the autonomous region established in the north of Syria in 2012.

The movements for democratic confederalism are anti-state and anti-nationalist. Our use of the terms ‘Kurdistan’, ‘Rojava’ and ‘Bakur’ are simply to describe the geographical regions, as used by many of the people who populate those regions. The populations of Rojava and Bakur are not only Kurdish, and the people involved in the movements for democratic confederalism are multi-ethnic.

Who are we?

The Institute for Solidarity Economics aims to support the grassroots movement for a just and sustainable economic system. ISE aims to research, collaborate and take action to help build on the already existing ‘Solidarity Economy’.

Corporate Watch is a not-for-profit co-operative providing critical information on the social and environmental impacts of corporations and capitalism. In 2015 and 2016, Corporate Watch has been working on a project focusing on Kurdish struggles in Rojava and Bakur.