Bilingual signboards in Kurdish and Turkish have been removed by the trustee of Van (Wan) Metropolitan Municipality in the Çaldıran (Ebex) district of Turkey. The Democratic Regions Party (DBP) had been elected in 2014 but the trustee who has since been appointed has imposed the changes in Van.
Kurdish Language Platform spokesperson, İrfan Söner, criticized the removal of the Kurdish direction signboards. He said: “We will rehang the signboards if they are removed”.
The bilingual signboards for Selik, Sêgira, Kurdoxlan, Hevîdan, Neçîrcan, Kurtikê Jêr, Kurtikê Jor, Çaçur, Teqiz , Selexane, Kel and Mitkulî were replaced by ones only providing Turkish names.
The trustee has not yet made any statement regarding this imposed change.
İrfan Söner stated that these actions are a continuation of historical pressures on the Kurdish language.
He stated that the Kurdish language had been banned by the government from 1930 until 1990 and added that: “The government took a step back in the 1990’s and eased restrictions. However, it has never given up its repressive policies”.
According to Söner, the signboards were removed because of the Kurdish language place names on them. Söner also pointed out that since the Republic of Turkey was founded, three languages have disappeared.
Morever, fifteen languages – including Kurdish – are likely to disappear, he added.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) had won ten municipalities in Van, including the metropolitan city, in the 31 March local elections, but trustees were appointed by the centre to replace them all.
The removal of Kurdish signboards has also been carried out by several other trustees in several Kurdish cities following their appointment to municipal office by the centre.