Nationalist party moves to dismiss mayor for sarcastic Kurdish billboard

Nationalist party moves to dismiss mayor for sarcastic Kurdish billboard

MUĞLA – Doğan News Agency
Nationalist party moves to dismiss mayor for sarcastic Kurdish billboard

DHA Photo

A Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) mayor faces dismissal from his party after preparing a billboard celebrating the Feast of Sacrifice with a text mixing Kurdish and Turkish words, in a sarcastic comment on the recent mother tongue language reforms.

People walking on the streets of Muğla’s resort town of Fethiye came across the unconventional feast greeting signed by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) mayor Behçet Saatçi and members of the municipality council from both the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the MHP.

The greeting text began with two sentences made up of Kurdish and Turkish words in mixed order, which did not make sense at first glance. The message then continues in Turkish as follows: “You understood, right? This is why it is one nation, one motherland, one flag, one state!”

After release of the reports on the billboard, the MHP announced that it had referred the mayor to the party’s disciplinary committee, demanding his expulsion.

“The language used by the mayor other than Turkish is against the Political Parties Code’s 81th article, disciplinary provisions of our party regulations as well as our party’s ideals and principles,” MHP Deputy Chairman Sadir Durmaz said in a written statement yesterday.

Against party's principles
 “It’s against the MHP’s principles. What’s necessary will be done,” said the party’s leader, Devlet Bahçeli, in Manisa yesterday upon a question.

Mayor Saatçi said the message was aimed at highlighting that “language is one of the cornerstones of unity of the country,” referring to the recently announced “democracy package.”

One of the reforms introduced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as part of the package was permission to receive education in languages other than Turkish in private schools, and lifting a ban on usage of the letters of “x, q and w.” Both moves were aimed at enabling further liberalization of the Kurdish language, even though they are widely seen as having failed to satisfy Kurds.

According to the mayor, the liberalization of Kurdish language will lead Turkey to a point “at which nobody will be able to understand one other.”

He also suggested Turkish as a unifying language for the country, claiming there isn’t one Kurdish language either.

“Let me admit this, we asked for our Turkish message’s translation into Kurdish to a lot of our Kurdish brothers. The ones in Malatya, Ağrı or Diaybakır sent different expressions. It is not possible to talk about pure Kurdish. There are differences in dialects and meanings. Turkish is the common language in Anatolia,” Saatçi said.