Saturday, December 25, 2010

Turkey's Kurds campaign for schooling in Kurdish langauge

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Ankara, Dec. 25 (AKnews) - A group in Turkey's Diarbakir, largest Kurdish city in the country,  is preparing to launch a signature-collecting campaign for schooling in Kurdish languages for the indigenous Kurds of the country.

Turkey's about 17 million Kurds are not allowed education in their mother tongue in the public schools and the use of the language is banned in the government and officials institutions.

Education in Kurdish in the private schools was first allowed in 2004. And the first Kurdish languages satellite TV channel was opened in 2010.

The group, called the Kurdish Language and Education Movement, is aiming at collecting one million signatures to submit them to the UNESCO, the Turkish and European parliaments as well to support their cause.

The campaign is widely supported by the political Kurdish parties including the largest group, Peace and Democracy Party, or known by its  Turkih acronym BDP.

The Kurds of Turkey have unleashed a wave of pressures recently on the Turkish government to recognize their language and to allow schooling in Kurdish.

Earlier this month, a group of Kurds accused of having links with the Kurdish armed group Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insisted to defend themselves in the court in Kurdish.

The court labeled their languages in its records as an "alien" language being used by the defendants.

"The right to education using the native language is one of the international and natural rights and the Turkish authorities must grant this right to the Kurds in the country." the campaigners said.

"The signatures are expected to be submitted to the UNESCO and the Turkish and European parliaments on February 21 which is the World Day of Mother Language,"

The group also called for a boycott of schools in Diarbakir city in the first week as part of their campaign dubbed "We Demand Education in the Mother Tongue"

Turkey has been locked in a decades-long conflict with the Kurds over their cultural and political rights.

The PKK declared armed action against the Turkish state nearly three decades ago to achieve national, cultural and political rights which has claimed more than 45,000 lives most of them Kurds.

The group first fought for the independence of Kurdistan - the Kurdish region of Turkey-  but now fights for greater rights to the Kurds within Turkey.

Reported by Kamal Avci
Edited by Raber Y. Aziz