CHP presidential candidate Muharrem Ince speaks at a rally in Diyarbakir on June 11, 2018. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Muharrem Ince, the presidential candidate for the Republican People’s Party, said the Kurdish language will be taught along with Turkish and a foreign language, which garnered a response from President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the rally was attended by "mostly HDP supporters."
“First, we will teach our children Turkish as a formal language. Secondly, a language spoken with parents at home, whether it is Kurdish, Arabic or Circassian … This is not enough. We will make them the citizens of the world, meaning we will teach English, French, Italian, Arabic, Russian, Japanese, and Chinese to our children,” Ince said during a rally in Kurdish city of Diyarbakir.
Kurdish children are deprived of their mother-tongue at schools, but are allowed to study the language in certain universities. Kurdish signs have been removed and replaced with Turkish ones in some Kurdish cities after the government replaced the elected pro-Kurdish HDP mayors and governors with trustees.
Ince said the Kurdish issue will be solved by “honoring them … being sincere to them” and taking it to parliament. He promised to dedicate a 24 hours of coverage on TRT for discussion of the issue, claiming that television now in Turkey is “useless.”
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey who is also running for re-election, slammed Ince’s visit to Diyarbakir.
Erdogan said from Eskisehir that Ince’s rally “was mostly attended by HDP supporters according to the information I have received through the Intelligence.”
He also accused Ince of not speaking out against “terrorists.”
Soon, in a rally in Kayseri, Ince replied, claiming “there were my brothers from AKP in the rally as well.”
He added that he does not differentiate between components of Turkey by “embracing everyone.”
The opposition candidate also questioned the role of the country’s intelligence agency (MIT) for providing Erdogan with the information.
A 'humanitarian' meeting
While Ince was addressing Kurdish people on the streets of Diyarbakir, his wife Ulku Ince visited Basak Demirtas, the spouse of the Kurdish jailed presidential candidate for the HDP.
“This was not a political meeting, but a humanitarian meeting. As you know Mrs. Basak is a teacher. I am a teacher as well. It was a woman and teacher consultation,” Ulku Ince told reporters.
She also said that if the wives of other presidential candidate were in the same condition she would visit them as well.