Ferhat Yaşar/ DUVAR

Serhat Language, History and Scholarly Research Education Association (SER-DER) President Mehmet Bulgan has called on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) to make efforts to increase Kurdish language courses in majority-Kurdish cities, underlining that the language is under threat. 

Bulgan said that some HDP-governed municipalities are offering Kurdish courses, but that these are insufficient.

“Those courses are either private or general courses offered to the public. They are not the kind that we want. Kurdish municipalities need to start courses in every neighborhood and village, and parents need to be incentivized,” Bulgan said. 

Bulgan launched SER-DER in Istanbul two years ago, and has had success in providing Kurdish-language courses to kids living in Turkey’s largest city. 

“We have been teaching courses for two years. After 4-5 months, despite not [previously] knowing Kurdish, our kids are writing, reading and speaking. I’m from the [Eastern] province of Iğdır and I’m thinking about children living in other Kurdish cities. They already know Kurdish because they learned it from their mother and father. If they go to a class for two hours a day once a week and learn how to read, write, and speak, that prevents assimiliation,” Bulgan said. 

“Without focusing ideologies or religion, just for Kurdish we need to mobilize, because we are wasting away, our people are becoming assimilated. We need to make this language more common, speed up its usage, and make it become a habit,” Bulgan said.