The Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) warned about the weakening and disappearance danger of the Kurdish language in a statement on Monday regarding International Mother Language Day and called for a struggle to draw attention to language and culture. Meanwhile, Turkey ignored support provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and did not include Kurdish in the official video in which it thanked all countries in their own language for international aid after the devastating 6 February earthquakes.
February 21 marks International Mother Language Day to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
KNK emphasised that language is the strength and pillar of every nation. “By ignoring the language problems, ignoring the pain and suffering of a language, and without resisting the attacks on a mother tongue, that language heads towards extinction.”
“In this regard, in addition to celebrating, it is important that this day be an opportunity for more work and struggle to draw the attention of the international community and specialised organisations in the field of language and culture to the threats and pressures of the invaders of Kurdistan on the Kurdish language and other languages of Kurdistan,” the statement follows.
The KNK urged the Kurdish authorities to have language policy and planning. “For us, language is not only a means of communication between people, but also our identity and existence. Protecting the language is our duty, let’s serve it together and reach the highest levels,” the congress said.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu released the video on Monday, a day before International Mother Language Day, ignoring the Kurdish language and without mentioning KRG despite the fact that KRG sent emergency aid and rescue teams to both Turkey and Syria immediately after the disaster as well as large amounts of humanitarian aid to the earthquake-hit areas in the aftermath.
The Kurdistan Region's Erbil rescue team saves a father and his daughter under the rubble of a collapsed building in Turkey's İslahiye town in Gaziantep.
🎥Islam Yusuf/Kurdistan 24 pic.twitter.com/jvG8WmpFdL
— Kurdistan 24 English (@K24English) February 9, 2023
After the 1980 military coup in Turkey, the Kurdish language was banned in public and private life, and many people who spoke, broadcasted or sang in Kurdish were imprisoned. Although some reforms were made during the resolution and peace process that ended in 2015, it is still illegal to use Kurdish as the language of instruction in both public and private schools in Turkey. In some schools, Kurdish is only allowed as a subject of education.