A Kurdish woman dances in front of a Newroz fire in Diyarbakir in March 2017. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – As the world is celebrating International Mother Language Day, a global association of writers is condemning Turkey’s “sustained repression of Kurdish culture and language.”
PEN International slammed Turkey for its crackdown on Kurdish media, the “principal victims” in widespread arrests and restrictions imposed after the July 2016 attempted coup and following the breakdown of the PKK peace process.
“Most pro-Kurdish and Kurdish-language media outlets have now been closed down” and some 50 Kurdish journalists are in jail, PEN stated.
International Mother Language Day was introduced by the United Nations in 2000 “to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.”
The theme of this year’s day is promoting development through linguistic diversity.
“To foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages,” the UN stated. “Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus play an important role in promoting sustainable futures.”