MED-DER: Struggle for mother tongue will continue

Mesopotamian Language and Cultural Research Association (MED-DER) executive, Dilan Güvenç said that they would increase their struggle against the crackdown on the Kurdish language.

Attacks and bans on the Kurdish language continue in all areas of the public sphere due to the AKP-MHP government's anti-Kurdish policies. Intolerance towards the Kurdish language has recently come to the fore once again during the debates within the Parliament and media outlets.

Dilan Güvenç spoke about the pressures, crackdown and bans on the Kurdish language.


Güvenç maintained that the attacks and pressures against the Kurdish language have not recently emerged but rather been continuing systematically since the establishment of the republic in 1923. Dilan said that they regarded the attacks against the Kurdish language as a policy of assimilation. “The Turkish Republic is based on one nation and one language. The Kurds have never been seen as citizens. The Kurdish language and culture have been ignored systematically. Therefore, although governments keep changing, the attack on the Kurdish language and culture continues and does not change. We consider all of these as assimilation policies and a major crime. For, mother tongue is a universal fundamental right. The state resorts to various oppressive policies to prevent the Kurdish language. Unfortunately, as the Republic of Turkey will soon mark its centennial year, the crackdown on the language and culture of the Kurds prevails.”


Güvenç remarked that the government wanted to ban the Kurdish language in all areas of life. “The state has a problem with the Kurds. There is a Kurdish problem which is mainly related to language and culture. The state wants to create docile Kurds. It seeks to deceive the Kurds with small changes, leaving aside the demand that the mother tongue should be the official language of education. This government continues systematic attacks on the Kurdish language. Kurdish youth face racist attacks at universities. The Kurds living in central Anatolia were subjected to massacres for speaking their language. They are killed when they listen to music in their mother tongue. Bans and censorships show that the government is not serious about resolving the problem. Kurdish parliamentarians want to speak in their mother tongue in the parliament. However, the government has no tolerance towards the Kurdish language. The crackdown on the language means that the Kurds are not recognized. That's why we define this approach as racism, which has been in force since the establishment.”


Güvenç continued: “They need the Kurds because they can stay in power if the Kurds vote for them. We know this from their previous policies. They have banned the Kurdish language, but they pretend that this is not the case. The right to use the Kurdish language is not enshrined in the laws and the constitution. Denial can be seen in every field of public sphere. Millions of Kurds live in Turkey, but they cannot receive education in their own language.


Güvenç concluded: “If the Kurds abandon their language and culture, they cannot enjoy their basic rights. Governments pursue assimilation policies because they want to destroy the Kurds as a nation. We will increase our struggle for the mother tongue against denial. We will do whatever we can to make Kurdish the official language of education and we will continue our struggle. Kurds should speak, write and read their mother tongue in every aspect of life. We should further press for the Kurdish language to be the official language of instruction. We urge our people to speak their mother tongue more.”