Kurdish language education sees decline since collapse of peace process, says report

Kurdish language education throughout Turkey was hindered by the collapse of a peace process between the government and the PKK in 2015, which led to an outbreak of violence and closures of cultural institutions.

Duvar English

Kurdish language education and related studies in Turkey has declined in the past five years since the collapse of a peace process between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to a report prepared by a number of local and international civil society organizations.

“The areas of institutions working in the field of Kurdish language, history, culture, art and literature have shrunk considerably. The most important reason behind this shrinkage is undoubtedly the turbulence into which the Kurdish issue fell during the summer of 2015,” the report said.

After the peace process collapsed that year, months of heavy fighting between PKK militants and Turkish security forces resulted in entire urban areas in the southeastern of Turkey being razed to the ground. Following the failed military coup of July 2016, numerous Kurdish media and cultural institutions were shuttered by governmental decree on dubious terror charges.

“Kurdish studying, education and training has shrunk to a level that cannot be ignored in the past five years. State and government policies have already had a negative impact on this issue,” the report said.

The report indicated that 70 pct. of Kurdish families were unaware that their children were able to take Kurdish-language elective classes at their schools.

“However, many things can change in schools where Kurdish education is given for two hours. The atmosphere of the school changes, and the psychological health of the students, teachers and society changes in a positive way,” the report said.