Prosecutor dismisses probe into use of Kurdish in Parliament
15 April 2009
The Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office yesterday rejected a petition to investigate Democratic Society Party (DTP) leader Ahmet Türk for delivering part of a speech in Kurdish to his party’s members in February.
Parliament’s bylaws explicitly ban the use of a language other than Turkish on Parliament grounds, except for visiting diplomats and politicians. Türk’s move sparked controversy, but most politicians expressed hope that it wouldn’t be followed by legal action.
Türk was criticized for trying to increase his party’s popularity among Kurdish voters ahead of the March 29 elections. He had said the reason he used Kurdish to address his party’s deputies was to mark Feb. 21, International Mother Language Day, as well as to protest persisting pressures surrounding the use of Kurdish as a language.
Kurdish was banned in Turkey in the past. Politicians speaking in Kurdish have gotten in trouble even in recent times, despite a Kurdish-language channel launched by the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) in January of this year.
Related story in Kurdish here on NetKurd.