Teacher Çiftçi: Trustees are afraid of the Kurdish language

Kurdish teacher Hamdiye Çiftçi Öksüz said that the first thing trustees do as soon as they take office is to close kindergartens in which Kurdish is spoken. "This shows – she said - how afraid they are of the language."

Schools and kindergartens where Kurdish was spoken as well as cultural events organized by the HDP municipalities were abolished by the trustees appointed in 2016 and 2019. With the appointment of a trustee to the HDP Metropolitan Municipality in Van in 2016, the Kurdish kindergarten within the municipality was closed, and Kurdish language events were ended.

In Van, there is a population of over 1,300000 people.

The Perpêrok Nursery and Day Care Center, offering its service in Kurdish, had a 1,200 square meter indoor area, a 500 square meter children's playground, a sand pool, a garden and a parking lot, as well as an outdoor area. The kindergarten had a capacity of 90 children and 20 people were employed. There was drama, cinema, music, dance, chess, and an infirmary room in the kindergarten, as well as a children's playground. The nursery had 18 students in each class, and served children aged 0-6. The Van trustee abolished the Kurdish name "Perpêrok" and banned Kurdish lessons. The nursery was renamed Nursery and Day Care Centre, and Kurdish lessons were replaced with Turkish ones.

Hamdiye Çiftçi, who worked as a teacher in Perpêrok, was fired. She said that Kurdish language institutions started to be closed with the appointment of trustees, and added: “I was teaching in a Kurdish kindergarten. With the arrival of the trustee, the Kurdish sign of the kindergarten was taken down, Kurdish was replaced by Turkish, and the teachers who were fluent in Kurdish were dismissed. I think that this is a clear indication of how much they are afraid of language.”

Çiftçi said that the nursery was inaugurated on 15 May 2015, on Kurdish Mother Language Day, and added: “There were 5 classes and 80 students enrolled in the kindergarten. The nursery, which was opened in line with the demands and needs of the people of the region, was closed with the arrival of the trustee. Perpêrok Nursery and Day Centre was the first Kurdish kindergarten in the region, and its opening was welcomed by the people of Van. The first Kurdish kindergarten in this region truly met the demands and wishes of the people. Kurdish nursery rhymes, songs, stories and games were in Kurdish.”

Everything is Turkified

Çiftçi said: “There were 80 students in the kindergarten, and 80 more were on a waiting list. New kindergartens were planned to be opened, but then a trustee was named to replace the elected mayor and everything changed."