Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül has criticized defining Kurdish as an “unknown language” in courts, as he gave an example from the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.
“Marginal attitudes that we don’t approve of occur sometimes. A mother from Diyarbakır speaks Kurdish in court, but it’s recorded as ‘an unknown language.’ How can you call a language that has been spoken for a thousand years that?” Gül said.
“The mother has been speaking Kurdish with his son for the past 50 years, but [with the court practice] you prevent her language and her faith,” he added.
Saying that policies of denial and assimilation were common in Turkey’s history, Gül noted that significant lessons were derived from the past to prevent these policies from occurring again.
“These examples take place in narrow-minded and marginal segments,” Gül said, adding that discrimination of people over their ways of living is a thing of the past.
Turning to the health condition of former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, the minister said that unfounded reports that surfaced about him were corrected by the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in the western province of Edirne.
“Our prosecutor’s office has released a statement to reveal the truth,” Gül said.
Demirtaş, who has been kept in Edirne Prison for over three years, went unconscious in November after suffering from chest tightness and breathing difficulties, but wasn’t taken to a hospital for a week.
He was taken to a hospital only after his lawyer and sister Aygül Demirtaş shared his health condition on Twitter, prompting outrage.
Following criticisms on social media, the prosecutor’s office said that necessary plannings were made in order for Demirtaş to undergo medial controls.