Many people in Turkey, whose mother language is Kurdish, face various difficulties in especially public spaces due to ‘language problems’.
When – due to a series of historical, institutional and state-linked circumstances – there are no Kurdish-speaking people in hospitals, schools or other state offices in Turkey, Kurdish people find themselves being deprived of their basic rights such as access to treatment, communication in the mother language, etc.
Van Bar Association in Turkey’s eastern province of Van (Wan) has taken a step to break this ‘language barrier’. It has established a Kurdish Language Commission with 75 lawyers, MA reports.
The commission was established to teach Kurdish and also to organise various activities related to language. “We will have classes for attorneys to teach them Kurdish, we will teach them a language. Seventy five attorneys are already registered with our commission We will call on the Kurdish language teachers in Van to teach Kurdish to the lawyers”, said Kadir Kutevi, executive member of the Van Bar Association.
Lawyers who speak Kurdish and have to work as translators in courts also have difficulties, Kutevi stated. “Language is a major problem. The accent of each region is different in the Kurdistan region. There, the translations [from Kurdish to Turkish and vice versa] need more accuracy and care. With the commission we have established, we will train colleagues and help them to make their translations more professionally”.
Kutevi emphasized that the lawyers who are working as translators in the courts are faced with various difficulties. “We need more lawyers that can speak Kurdish”, he said.
He also provided further details about the upcoming projects of the Language Commission: “First, we will organise a night of dengbej’s (Kurdish folk singers)”, he said. “Later, we would like to call lawyers working on the Kurdish language in these regions and hear what they are doing for the rights and demands of the Kurds. Again, we will call and listen to the families and children of the murdered lawyers”.