Ayşe Sürücü, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP’s) MP for Urfa (Riha), spoke to Jin News about the significance of the campaign to get Turkish authorities to accept the Kurdish language as an official language in education. “The system ignores ‘Kurds’ and the ‘Kurdish language’. We need to support the campaign”, she said.
The Kurdish language has been a central topic of discussion in debates relating to a resolution of the ‘Kurdish question’ in Turkey. Many Kurds have been targeted by lynch campaigns, physically attacked and even killed on the grounds that they have spoken ‘Kurdish’.
The rights of Kurds living in Turkey has been long denied. Kurdish was banned in Turkey for several years and even after the official bans were removed, de facto prohibitions that eliminate the usage of Kurdish in the public sphere have continued.
The ’21 February Language Commission’, established by the Kurdish Language Platform and the Kurdish Language and Culture Network, continues with its campaign that demands that Kurdish should be made an official language and language of education in Turkey.
Whilst thousands of signatures have been collected within the scope of its campaign, its petition will continue until 15 May, after which it will be sent to the related Turkish institutions.
‘As a party, we are trying to keep the Kurdish language alive in every field’
”As a party, we are trying to keep the Kurdish language alive in every field”, noted HDP MP Ayşe Sürücü. ”Our aim is to develop Kurdish literature as well as the speaking of Kurdish in daily life and in all areas of life”, she said, explaining the rationale of the Kurdish language promotion campaign. ”We support the language campaign that has been launched by the Kurdish Language Platform and the Kurdish Language and Culture Network. In addition, we are seeking to further enlarge the campaign”.
Sürücü stated that the HDP tries to make the Kurdish language acceptable in the language of politics as well. “The system in Turkey has been ignoring the Kurds and the Kurdish language. The names of towns, villages and streets have been changed from Kurdish to Turkish. On the other hand, the first action of appointed trustees was to remove the signboards of the municipalities that had been written in Kurdish. The Women’s Emergency Support Application (KADES) has created a programme that seeks to highlight ‘violence against women’ concerns. Yet, even as there are six different languages advanced in the programme, there isno Kurdish”, she said.
Kurdish as an ‘unknown language’
Sürücü emphasized that the Kurdish language has been “discriminated” against in the public sphere and banning the language is a part of the Turkish government’s approach to the Kurdish “identity”.
“Every nation exists in its own language”, Sürücü said. “So do the Kurdish people. Language is identity. Language represents the existence of a person. We live in the 21st century. However, the Kurdish language is still ignored. When we speak Kurdish in parliament, it is recorded as ‘X’ or ‘an unknown language’ in the official records. This system does not accept the Kurdish language”, she concluded.
Sürücü’s appeal for solidarity
Ayşe Sürücü appealed to human rights defenders in Turkey and internationally to support the Kurdish language campaign. “Our language is our identity, our existence. Therefore, we have to struggle for the Kurdish language to be accepted as an official language in Turkey. We will continue to be insistent on this issue. Our struggle for the Kurdish language needs solidarity and support from everyone”, she said.