A recent survey conducted by the Diyarbakır-based Rawest Research Center has revealed that 72 percent of Turkey’s Kurdish population want Kurdish to be recognized as an official language along with Turkish.
The survey — named “The situation of mother tongue between parents and children” — was conducted in September and October by surveying 1,537 Kurdish citizens who have children aged between 3-13. Citizens living in Turkey’s Diyarbakır, Mardin, Şanlıurfa, Van, Ağrı, Bingöl, Şırnak and Dersim provinces were chosen.
The participants of the survey were asked “how well” they master Kurdish. Some 16 percent said they can “both speak it and write/read in it;” 63 percent said they can “speak it but cannot write/read in it;” 15 percent said they can “understand it [when spoken] but cannot speak it themselves;” and 6 percent said they “hardly know it.”
Some 88 percent of the participants said they desire that their children learn Kurdish. However, 24 percent of the participants said they do not “put any effort” for their children to learn the language. The remaining 76 percent declared having put varying degrees of effort for this.
Some 48 percent of the participants said they speak “only in Kurdish” with their parents, whereas this is not the case when they are communicating with their own children, as only 13 percent said they speak “only in Kurdish” with their children.
Similarly, 41 percent of the participants said they speak “only in Turkish” with their children; whereas this figure dropped to 9 percent when they were asked about how they communicate with own parents. This phenomenon shows usage of Kurdish becoming less prevalent among younger generations.
The participants of the survey were also asked to choose a school that they would like to send their children to and were given five options. Some 64 percent chose the option of a school providing education both in Kurdish and Turkish; 12 percent chose a school teaching both in English and Turkish; 9 percent chose the language of instruction to be both Kurdish and English; 11 percent wanted a school teaching only in Turkish; and the remaining 4 percent chose the option of a school teaching only in Kurdish.
When it came to the question of “What should be the official language of the place you live in?” 72 percent said they would prefer both Turkish and Kurdish to be official languages, whereas 18 percent said “just Turkish” and 11 percent said “just Kurdish.”