Reacting to the way in which Free Women’s Movement spokesperson Ayşe Gökkan was not allowed to make her defence in her mother language Kurdish at a hearing at Diyarbakır 9th Heavy Penal Court in Turkey, Mesopotamia Language and Culture Research Association (MED-DER) co-chair Şilan Elmaskan said: “Kurdish people and Kurdish women will never obey those denialist policies”.
Representatives from several political parties and non govermental organisations including the Democratic Regions Party (DBP), the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Human Rights Association (İHD) and Rosa Women’s Association were present when MED-DER read out its press statement.
MED-DER co-chair Şilan Elmaskan spoke and stated that the right to speak in one’s mother language was the base of all freedoms. Elmaskan added that oppression against languages was considered a crime in modern and democratic countries.
Stating that Kurdish children’s rights to receive education in their mother language has been under assault since the foundation of the Turkish Republic, Elmaskan observed that the state’s discourse that suggested that ‘We are brothers and equal’ was a total lie.
Elmaskan asserted that the court’s action in preventing Gökkan from making her defence in her mother language due to the instructions of the government meant that: “This attitude of the court means denying and ignoring Kurdish people”. Elmaskan pointed out that all peoples living in Turkey should have equal rights, and she added that Kurdish women would never obey or accept the dictates of fascism.