Kawa Onatli, 39, a Kurd born in the city of Batman in Turkey, is behind the first Kurdish search engine, egerin.com. He says he founded egerin to compensate for the fact that Google and other search engines have deprived some 40 million Kurds across the world from using their mother tongue on the Internet, and that they have not yet listed the Kurdish language in their language codes.
“I, as a Kurd, intended to benefit my nation,” said Onatli, who received his Masters degree in economics from Umea University in Sweden.
“It is clear that development of the Kurdish language on the internet is needed and Kurds, just like other nations, have all the right to use their language” on the Internet, he said in an interview with Rudaw, published below:
Rudaw: What is egerin and when was it founded?
Kawa Onatli: egerin is an Internet search engine for the Kurdish language. It was established in 2014 as a test. After it gained an abundant following it was founded as a technology company.
What benefit will it have for the Kurdish language?
It has many benefits. First, the Kurdish language will become the language of technology. The main difference between egerin.com and other search engines is that egerin is in Kurdish and recognizes Kurdish alphabets and documents. The search engine will help bring Kurdish speakers closer. The Kurdish language will join the languages of the great nations of the world.
Does it do anything other than Internet searches?
We have an egerin news offering of Kurdish journals, an egerin link for android and iPhone devices and an egerin dictionary and translator to translate Turkish and English languages into Kurdish dialects, including Sorani and Kurmanci. There are also TV broadcasts of live Kurdish TVs through streaming.
How have people reacted to egerin?
People have warmly welcomed it, expressing their happiness through messages, which encourage us to continue our work.
What will you do to develop the egerin?
We are constantly working to use new technologies. We will use new projects if necessary. Kurdish children and the new generation are growing up with great devices and advanced technology. Of course, egerin will become part of Kurdish life and will be used by them for every occasion.
How large is the egerin crew?
The staff consists of a number of people, but the number will change according to time and work. I would like to mention that I am taking care of financing egerin through my own efforts.
What are Kurdish people searching for on egerin?
Mostly music, videos and news.
How many people visit egerin daily?
Despite limited resources, egerin expands day by day, and we continue working for it on social media, too.