75 Arrested for Wanting Kurdish Taught in Turkey

ISTANBUL (Marmara)–More than 75 people were arrested in Turkey after filing a petition urging the Turkish government to include the teaching of the Kurdish language in university curricula–reported the Radikal newspaper on Friday.

Turkish officials insisted that those people were arrested solely for being members of secret organizations or for assisting them. Yet officials also suggested that the mere petitioning for the inclusion of the Kurdish language was–in and of itself unconstitutional.

More than 10,000 petitions–for freedom of opinion and Kurdish language–were already presented from universities in 17 different Turkish cites–although the majority of them were rejected by the Turkish authorities.

The Turkish Minister of Internal Affairs Rushuv Kyazm Yucelen published a statement demanding the rejection of all applications regarding the Kurdish language. According to the minister Kurdish language does not have a priority since according to Turkish law only Turkish is considered the primary language in the country. Thus–the Turkish minister established a guideline for the teaching of other languages in the country.

The European Union has placed a requirement on Turkey according to which the native language of minorities in Turkey must be freely taught. However–the Turkish minister insisted that Turkish is only the only native language throughout the country (perhaps the minister does not know the difference between the native language and the official state language).

The minister announced that there was no need for the teaching of Kurdish universities–since he believed those petitions were part of a campaign waged by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) against a Reconciliation movement taking shape in Europe–whereby Kurds are encouraged to display civil disobedience against the authorities.

The Minister concluded that the requirement of Kurdish language to be included in the university programs is an unconstitutional itself.

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