It’s Not The Words, It’s The Language!

The majority of people in Turkey are not Kurdish, but there is a significant number who belong to that ethnic group. They have a distinctive language and culture which they regard as part of who they are as a people. The leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) was addressing the party’s parliamentary group when a Turkish television cut the live broadcast because Ahmet Turk was speaking in the wrong language– Kurdish. Mr. Turk said he was speaking in Kurdish in recognition of the UN cultural body, UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day which is designed to promote linguistic and cultural diversity. The television station, TRT, said that no other language other than Turkish could be used when making parliamentary speeches of group addresses.

A decade ago, a deputy from a pro-Kurdish party was jailed for speaking Kurdish in the parliament. Ironically, Turkey on January 1, 2009, established a TV channel which is entirely in Kurdish. How about a compromise agreement and make English the official language for all parliament discussions?