Duvar English

Formed by nine Kurdish parties, the Kurdish Language Platform calls for their native language to become one of Turkey’s official languages. The platform also urged the halting of the assimilation policies and pressures exerted upon the Kurds, spokesperson Şerefhan Cizîrî said at a press conference held by the Southeastern Journalists Society on Feb. 6.

“Turkish may be the official language, but it’s a foreign language to Kurdish kids. Kurds want to be educated in their mother tongue,” Cizîrî said.

The Platform has been meeting with leading political parties like the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Felicity Party (SP), the Mesopotamia Agency reported.

“We need to remove obstacles against the Kurdish language and form a Kurdish Language Institute. We have visited political parties to discuss the government’s foundation of an institute, the promotion of acceptance for the Kurdish language and the adoption of legal regulations regarding it,” Cizîrî said.

‘Our only principle is not meeting with MHP’

The HDP accepted the platform’s demands as their own, Cizîrî said, adding that their meeting with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was positive.

“He said they would support our work to build a Kurdish Language Institute,” Cizîrî said.

The platform sought to meet with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), to no avail.

The platform will refuse to meet with the MHP unless they soften their policy toward the Kurdish people, Cizîrî said.

“This isn’t because we don’t want to meet with them, it’s because they don’t want to meet with us and because their policies toward the Kurds are extremely harsh,” Cizîrî said.

‘Having no language amounts to having no country

Cizîrî called the Kurdish people to use their mother tongue more often in their daily lives.

“Everyone who says they’re Kurdish should speak Kurdish.”

Platform member İrfan Söner said that their efforts needed the support of the community and called on Kurdish intellectuals, journalists and linguists to contribute to the platform’s work.

“Having no language amounts to having no country. If we don’t have our language, we don’t have a country,” Söner said.

The Kurdish people should teach younger generations their language, use it in daily life, and protect it both at home and on the streets, Söner added.

‘The UN should pressure Turkey’

While Cizîrî said that the platform’s meetings with the United Nations went well, he noted that they asked the non-governmental agency to work with UNESCO on protecting the Kurdish language and to pressure Turkey into accepting it as an official language.

“They said that everyone has a right to their mother tongue. We told them we were just protecting our heritage,” Cizîrî said.

Platform representative Bora Bali noted that the issues surrounding the Kurdish language are not only the concerns of the Kurdish people, but that of the whole country.

“Turkey’s current politics can turn a simple Kurdish song into an act of terrorism. We need to get rid of this mindset,” Bali said.