A Kurdish teacher was subjected to online racist abuse after a video emerged showing her teaching the Kurdish names for cities on Wednesday.
Mizgin Yalçın, a middle school teacher in the Malabadi village of Turkey’s southeastern Kurdish-majority Diyarbakir (Amed) province, also distributes her educational content through the Kurdi Online platform, engaging with students internationally, including in the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Azerbaijan and within Turkey itself.
Recently, her video explaining city names in Kurdish was shared without permission and used to target her on social media. A user named Ceren Tunç posted the video alongside a photo from Yalçın’s Instagram account with a caption questioning the necessity of teaching city names in Kurdish, asserting that the official language of Turkey is Turkish.
Some users responding to the post escalated the situation by tagging Turkey’s Education Ministry and the General Directorate of Security, calling for Yalçın to be punished.
This incident sparked a conversation about the status of the Kurdish language in Turkey. Kurdish has been an elective course since 2012, but the lack of appointed teachers often makes this option unfeasible. Despite technically provided rights to Kurdish language education, they are largely unimplemented, with pending educational materials from the Education Ministry.
In areas with a significant Kurdish population, elective courses in Kurdish, when available, often face discriminatory targeting. This is compounded by the overshadowing effect of the Turkish government’s nationalist rhetoric, which conceals the already limited platform of rights and prevents widespread awareness of these rights among the populace.