The Istanbul Arts and Vocational Training Centers (İSMEK), affiliated with the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality, have started to accept citizens' applications for Kurdish lessons.
Last year, the centers were offering A1 level courses for the Kurmanji dialect of Kurdish, whereas this year A2 level will also be offered.
A1 level courses will be offered at İSMEK centers located in Esenyurt, Bağcılar, Şişli and Kadıköy districts. Attendees in A1 level courses will be offered 136 hours of lessons in total.
As for A2 level, these courses will be offered in Kadıköy, Bağcılar and Şişli districts branches, with 120 hours of cumulative instruction.
No more than eight people will be accepted for each course due to the novel coronavirus.
The applications can be made through the website of İSMEK.
Kurdish votes are known to have an important role in local elections on March 31, 2019, especially to determine the outcome for Istanbul.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu, from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), had said prior to the 2019 elections that if elected, his municipal administration would provide Kurdish language courses.
More than three million Kurds are believed to be living in Istanbul, which makes the city the largest Kurdish city in the world.
In October, Istanbul Governor's Office banned a Kurdish-language play that was set to open at the city's municipal theatre, provoking condemnation from İmamoğlu. Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya at the same time said that the play was banned not because it's Kurdish, but it includes Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) propaganda.
İmamoğlu implied hypocrisy on the part of the authorities, referring to the government's move to allow PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's brother Osman Öcalan to make a statement on TV before 2019 local elections.
"It's allowed for a terrorist group member who is sought with a red notice to make a statement on TV, but it's banned to stage a play in Kurdish. This is unacceptable," İmamoğlu said on Oct. 14.