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Kurds seek tools to improve proficiency in mother tongue

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Kurds seek tools to improve proficiency in mother tongue

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Oct 01, 2019 11:39 pm

Kurds seek to improve
mother tongue

Kurds seeking to improve proficiency in their mother tongue have flocked to the seventh annual book fair in the Kurdish province of Diyarbakir (Amed) in southeast Turkey which commenced on Saturday

The nine day long fair is being run by TUYAP, a Turkish institution in charge of organizing fairs of all kinds nationwide. It is hosting 160 publishing houses, at least 15 of which are houses publishing Kurdish books.

Publishing house owner Hidayet Fidan displayed Kurdish-language books at the fair. He told Rudaw on Monday that their sales were “very good today, especially Kurdish dictionaries and books.”

Kurdish language schooling is not provided as a given by the Turkish government, who instead offer voluntary courses in some Kurdish areas. Few students attend these courses, as they are neither assessed nor obligatory.

Omer Dilsoz is a Kurdish writer in Turkey. He echoed Fidan’s assertion that a considerable number of Kurdish books were sold, particularly Kurdish language aids.

“Because there is no Kurdish education in northern Kurdistan [southeast Turkey], Kurdish readers struggle when reading Kurdish books,” Dilsoz told Rudaw.

“Therefore, [Kurdish] readers demand books teaching Kurdish language, such as alphabet and grammar [books] and dictionaries,” the writer added.

Kurdish language use in sites of authority including parliament is prohibited in Turkey, restricting its use to domestic and informal settings.

Kurdish courses are offered at some universities, for which students are awarded official certification. Turkey’s government last made changes to policy on the Kurdish language in 2013, during a peace process with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which including the opening of Kurdish studies departments at some universities and full-time Kurdish-language TV channels. Some of these changes were rescinded when the peace process broke down in 2015.

A 2016 failed coup attempt blamed on Fethullah Gulen, former ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, catalyzed a state crackdown on the political and cultural activities of minority groups in Turkey, including Kurds. Kurdish-language billboards hung by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in southeast Turkey continue to be removed by ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) administrators, drawing the ire of Kurds in the area.

The signage at Diyarbakir’s book fair - like most signs in Diyarbakir - is in both Kurdish and Turkish.

Books by a number of Kurdish controversial leaders are on display, including those of the former HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, who has been jailed since November 2016 for terror-related charges. Some of his displayed books were those he wrote behind bars.

A writer from Turkey praised the “bilingual” fair, saying it “will bring forward the Kurdish language.”

This year’s fair was longer than those of previous years, which have tended to last for a couple of days. Its weekend launch is believed to have contributed to the increase in visitors.

A lawmaker for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) said in a tweet that this fair "broke a record by being visited by about 53 thousand people in the first two days." ... /300920191
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Kurds seek tools to improve proficiency in mother tongue



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