As International Mother Language Day approaches, the situation of languages in Turkey has come to the fore.
Research was conducted by Socio-political Field Research Centre between 20 January and 7 February 2021, involving interviews with 1,476 people from 40 different areas in Turkey.
The coordinator of the research, Yüksel Genç, discussed the troubling results. “Circassian, Armenian, Laz, and Syriac languages should not have appeared so little in our research, or we should not have reached so few people who speak these languages. It is important to point out that these languages have almost disappeared since the assimilation of these identities”.
The research reveals that Kurdish is the most spoken mother language in Turkey after Turkish, and that people face discrimination for using their language. According to the research 95% of the participants say that their mother language is Kurdish. But only around 65% of them speak Kurdish in their homes.
“Moreover, this rate decreases to 35% when they go out on the street”, said Genç. “People are speaking their own language less both at home and in public spaces, putting these languages at risk of extinction”.
The research can be seen here.