UPDATE: 21 January 2011. Prosecutors in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır have chosen not to proceed with charges into a series of bilingual road signs erected by the local municipality. See story here.
One year ago road signs started appearing around Diyarbakır with names of villages in both Turkish and Kurdish. This bilingual sign initiative was spearheaded by the Diyarbakir City Council. This came following Interior Minister Beşir Atalay’s announcement that towns and villages would be allowed to return to their Kurdish names as part of a government plan to improve Kurdish rights.
The initiative came to a screeching halt earlier this week as the Turkish Council of State—the highest administrative court in Turkey—upheld the Diyarbakır Governor’s office objection to the road signs. The Council of State has declared that all 91 bilingual road signs must be removed. The Council’s statement said that the road signs with the Kurdish names would cause problems for postal and transportation services.
The Diyarbakır Governor’s office in a statement said ‘Turkey is an indivisible country and nation, its language is Turkish.’ It also said that addresses in other languages would lead to chaos.