Demirtas: Kurds Fighting the State for 100 Years for Their Mother Tongue

HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş indicated Turkish language had been taught compulsorily and mother tongue based education was still forbidden in reply to Minister of Education’s statement “We teach Kurdish students Turkish well. They learn it in playtime.”

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair, Selahattin Demirtaş, said Kurds have been taught Turkish mandatorily.

“It is a part of the law. Mother tongue based education is still forbidden. It was a method of torture in 1980 military coup. Speak Turkish, speak much.”

Selahattin Demirtaş answered the questions of Mustafa Karaalioğlu, Murat Yetkin and Mete Çubukçu on NTV show hosted by Oğuz Haksever and touched upon the subject ‘mother tongue’.

In reply to the sentences of Minister of Education, Nabi Avcı, Demirtaş said Turkish had been taught mandatorily.

“How did you learn Turkish?”

Murat Tekin asked Demirtaş’s opinion about the statement of Avcı.

“Minister of Education has made statement recently about language and education. He says “We fail at English language but we teach all Kurdish students Turkish well and fluently. Handle the subject from HDP deputies’ point of view. Kurdish children learn Turkish spontaneously while playing and joking around in playtime. This is how you learn a foreign language.

“Did you learn Turkish while you’re joking around?”

“Mother tongue based education is forbidden”

Demirtaş responded:

“Yes I remember that we were joking around when I was in primary school.

“Yes it’s true. We improve our Turkish while having fun and joking around.

“I think Avcı wasn’t playing enough when he was a kid. If he had done so, he could have spoken Turkish well like us.

“It would be nice if he had believed in what he was talking about. I don’t think he is a malevolent person but a minister of education shouldn’t talk like this.

“We had to learn Turkish as required by law. Mother tongue based education is still forbidden. It was a method of torture in 1980 military coup; speak Turkish, speak much.”

“This is the extermination of Kurdish language. They don’t accept it as a native language.”

“TRT Kurdî is also important and precious.

“Three days before, the President Erdoğan said “Mother tongue is crucial. You must not forget your own language or you will be assimilated. “ I find this hypocritical and unfair.

“I am embarrassed that I’m not able to talk my mother language well as Turkish. I am Zaza (an ethnic group in eastern Anatolia) but I wish I could speak Zaza language fluently as well as Turkish.

“Kurds have been fighting the state for almost a century for their mother tongue.

“It’s unfair to pay for learning your own language”

Upon Mustafa Karaalioğlu saying “People complain about private schools and their education systems.”

“Do you want to pay for learning Kurdish language? Is it fair to tell if you have money you can learn, otherwise you won’t?

“This should be a public service. They can’t ignore Kurdish language making up excuses.

“Society was used to it. It was a taboo to get a multilingual education but this concept has collapsed.

Erdoğan defended mother tongue when he was abroad.

The President Erdoğan was on a European tour recently. He said if someone lost his/her mother tongue, s/he would be assimilated.”

“We must be very sensitive about this subject because you “think” in your own language.

“Firstly you will teach your children Turkish and make him/her learn local language as well as Turkish. Our children shouldn’t feel alienated in this land.

“As long as you protect your language, belief and culture, people will respect you.” (YY/BD)

Source: Bianet