Kurdish language department students banned from writing theses in Kurdish

Students enrolled in the Kurdish language departments of universities in Turkey will no longer be allowed to submit their dissertations in Kurdish. Former academic Selim Temo has also announced that from now on, all lectures at these departments will be conducted only in Turkish.

Ferhat Yaşar / DUVAR

Students attending the Kurdish Language and Literature department of Turkish universities will no longer be allowed to write their dissertations in Kurdish, in line with a decision of the Council of Higher Education (YÖK).

The information was disclosed by former academic Selim Temo, who used to be an associate professor in the field of Kurdish studies at Mardin Artuklu University before being sacked by a statutory decree (KHK) in 2017 for signing a peace petition that criticized the Turkish government's actions in southeastern Turkey.

“I am unveiling this tactless approach implemented towards Kurdish for ten years. And this is the new act of impertinence: Writing a dissertation in Kurdish at universities' Kurdish Language and Literature departments has been banned and all lectures will be given in Turkish. This is what local and national academy is!” Temo wrote on his Twitter account.

The Kurdish Language and Literature department exists in four universities in Turkey: Dicle University in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Mardin Artuklu University, Bingöl University and Muş University.

Education in mother tongue has been a pivotal demand of Turkey’s Kurds. The Turkish government introduced Kurdish as an elective course in schools and launched Kurdish studies programs at universities during the Kurdish peace process, also known as the Kurdish opening or the resolution process. But today, Kurdish language education is no longer said to be high on Ankara's agenda as the peace process collapsed.