Since 2006, 15 May, which marks the anniversary of the first publication of a Kurdish magazine in the Latin alphabet, has been celebrated as Kurdish Language Day.
Turkey’s Kurdish-majority southeastern city of Diyarbakır (Amed) celebrated Kurdish Language Day early this year due to the approaching elections with a press statement and a feast organised by the Mesopotamia Language, Culture and Research Association (MED-DER) and the Green Left Party.
“Language is the foundation of all nations and a crucial factor in the survival and identity of minority groups, particularly for the Kurds,” said Dilan Güvenç, the executive director of MED-DER at the event on Thursday.
Güvenç mentioned the struggles faced by the Kurdish language, which she said has been under threat of extinction for 100 years due to the assimilation policies of occupying states. She stressed that the Kurdish language should be developed and promoted in every field, including education, science, literature, and philosophy.
She also noted the important role of women in protecting and developing the Kurdish language, and expressed the need for Kurdish to be recognised as an official language.
Following the speeches, women attempted to march to distribute leaflets for Saturday’s Diyarbakır rally of the Green Left Party but were surrounded by police. The women eventually forced the police to retreat, and the event concluded with the chanting of the slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadî” (Woman, Life, Freedom).
The Kurdish Hawar Magazine, edited by Celadet Ali Bedirhan and his friends, began publication on 15 May 1932. Hawar was the first Kurdish magazine to be published in the Latin alphabet and is known for its contribution to the development of the Kurdish language.