Twenty People Slapped with Fines in Turkey for Using non Turkish Alphabet Letters

(Reuters)–A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration–under a law that bans the use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet–human rights campaigners said.

The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira ($75.53) for holding up the placards–written in Kurdish–at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.

Under pressure from the European Union–Turkey has improved language and human rights for its Kurdish minority–but the EU says implementation has been patchy and loopholes remain.

The 1928 Law on the Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters changed the Turkish alphabet from the Arabic script to a modified Latin script and required all signs–advertising–newspapers and official documen’s to only use Turkish letters.

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