POLITICS > Kurdish to be taught in public schools: Turkey PM

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Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Hürriyet Daily News photo by Selahattin Sönmez

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Hürriyet Daily News photo by Selahattin Sönmez

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that Kurdish would be taught in public schools, "a historic step" for Turkey.
"Our pupils ... will now be able to learn Kurdish as optional courses if there is a sufficient number (of students)," Erdoğan told his ruling party members in the parliament.
"This is a historic step," he added.
Turkey is home to a sizeable Kurdish population, mostly in its southeast.
Since it came to power in 2002, Erdoğan's government has swept a number of reforms to ease restrictions before Kurdish language and Kurdish broadcasts under pressure from the European Union.
The Kurds can now broadcast in Kurdish, teach their mother tongue in private courses and use it in political life.
But it is the first time Turkish public schools will be offering Kurdish language course at a time Erdoğan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) government is criticised for dragging feet on its so-called Kurdish initiative.


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Notice on comments

Erik Johansson

6/12/2012 9:47:23 PM

Turk Uzan. A lot of countries have several official languages: Belgium, Bosnia, Cyprus, Denmark, Eritrea, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, India, Ireland, Israel, Canada, Kazakhstan, China, Kirgizistan, Croatia, Moldavia, Russia, Switzerland, Serbia, Singapore, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, South Africa, Germany, Belorussia, Austria...

Nuri Gotham

6/12/2012 9:44:36 PM

Not the words but deeds are important. Turkey has been putting elected Kurdish deputies, mayors, journalists and activists just because they are demanding equal citizenships and their legimate cultural rights, including the education in mother tongue. The linguistic rights of the Kurds are not a gift by the government but is a God given right. Turkey has already signed Helsinki Agreement promising to grant minority rights.

B Medic

6/12/2012 9:40:22 PM

@Turk Uxan: The idea that a country will be divided if its citizens speak different languages is a delusion. Ireland, Finland, Canada, Switzerland, United Kingdom and many more countries all have two or more official languages and are showing no signs of splitting up. All citizens just need to recognize each others' rights and values. A common language is not needed for National unity.

ismail demir

6/12/2012 9:11:55 PM

@turk uzan, kurds settled anatolia about 9. century (there was not 2200 years as you claim) by taking lands from assryians and armenians.They had mervanis state that their borders from hakkari-mardin-diyarbakir-west of van lake.If they want their own state , I dont object them if all of them settle their mervani state borders as prior to 1071.Kurds have no luxury both benefit Turkey and founding their country although kurds invited ottoman army to southeast anatolia to save them safevis 1500 s.

Nadiri Başaran

6/12/2012 8:22:17 PM

Turk Uzan: I agree with every thing you have said,

mara mcglothin

6/12/2012 7:29:14 PM

FYI This article in the Today's Zaman has a picture of very young children with it? Also I would think that the most important time to allow Kurdish education would be in the 5 year old class as children might need help in the classroom with Turkish. In America, even though we only have one national language(as it should be) we allow young foreign children to have help when starting kindegarten to have a chance to learn English first.

Turk Uzan

6/12/2012 6:53:13 PM

P.s. I believe this will also show how much interest there "really" is to learn Kurdish. Honestly I think BDP is going to be a little disappointed haha. They rather force it on the whole east, regardless of the fact there are millions of turks there, for example in the Azeri's who are currently the biggest in Igdir and second biggest in Kars. Other Ethnic Turk minorities and millions of Anatolian Turks. I think even in Kurdish majority cities interest will be low.

Foreigner .

6/12/2012 6:46:08 PM

The sole fact that this issue is being proposed and discussed shows the reforms this Government has extended towards the Kurds. This could not be imagined before Erdogan and AKP. Kurds should be grateful to these reforms and support AKP on this brave jounrey. Remember one may want more but should not forget that it is diffcult to change the whole system overnight. AKP deserves Kurdish votes more than the hypocrticial and uselss BDP.

Turk Uzan

6/12/2012 6:35:36 PM

I think this step is an ok step, it will make a lot of Kurds happy .. Some comments talk about Kurdish as a main language. How delusional are you people? What state would deliberately divide it's people by teaching it two separate official languages. After 10/30 years eastern Turkey won't be able to properly communicate with western Turkey. We have millions of Kurds in the west, what about them!? Today a Kurd can live, eat, work, set up a business etc. in every corner of Turkey!

Turk Uzan

6/12/2012 6:30:21 PM

When we came to Anatolia over a thousand years ago (not including other Turkic peoples, who came before, but the Oghuz Turks) We conquered this land from the Persians and Hellenized Romans (Byzantines) not from the Kurds or Armenians for that matter (they claim the same land as PKK supporters do). The Romans and Persians conquered it from the Greeks and what was left over of the Hurrians, Hittites, Troyans etc. whom the Greeks conquered the land from. You people are ignorant on our history.
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