The kids who do not know Kurdish which of those mothers who do not know Turkish

In almost all languages, the language of the mother is expressed as the mother tongue. What could be more natural for a person to learn, speak, and think with their mother’s language?

In Turkey, this is not the case for the Kurdish minority.

Kurdish children either do not learn their mothers’ language or forget and lose it after a while. Generations that are foreign to their mother, home, and culture are growing up. This language alienation is happening more rapidly in the big metropolises where millions of Kurds have migrated. In the transition from their mother tongue to Turkish, children experience serious learning difficulties, especially in primary and secondary school years.

The mother’s tongue is especially important in primary school age. Because when children develop their mother tongue, they also develop a range of other basic skills such as critical thinking and literacy skills. They learn these basic skills faster and naturally, in their native language, and when a second language is learned, it is easier to transfer these skills and learnings to the newly learned language.


For example, if a child has developed the ability to guess the meaning of a word through its context or derive meaning by reading between the lines, these skills are easily transferred when they start studying in a second language. However, it is much more difficult to teach these abstract skills directly in a second language.


Therefore, using the mother tongue helps the child develop critical thinking and literacy skills.


Is the mother tongue that important?

Professor Jim Cummins from the University of Toronto answers this question: He discovered that children with a strong native language learn a second language and improve their literacy skills more easily. He concluded that the children’s knowledge and skills were transferred between languages. [1]

Leaving mother tongue education aside, Turkey has not even acknowledged the existence of the Kurdish language. It was only able to recognize Kurdish in 2009, after dozens of sufferings, by opening a television channel. TRT Kürdi channel was founded 10 years after Mesut Yılmaz’s statement of “The EU’s Road Passes through Diyarbakır” in 1999.[2] Today, 21 years have passed over this statement, but Turkey is still far behind in these fundamental human rights. Turkey does not remove any obstacles to mother tongue education. With the allegation that the state’s integrity would be endangered, the de facto ban on Kurdish continued for years.


However, the Turkish state is clearly wrong. How can the language my mother speaks divide the state?

The prevention of mother tongue education causes children’s learning difficulties and completely disconnects them with their culture and history. They lose the social memory of the region they belong to. First, they become alienated from their mother’s grandmothers’ folk tales and lullabies and lose them completely. Thus, we lose our collective cultural heritage in Mesopotamia for thousands of years.

However, aren’t the folk songs or stories telling about our common experiences and loves that keep us together? How can we expect young people who do not have a past to say, “Yes, he/she felt love and/or pain just like me,” to meet on a common ground today? Breaking off the Kurdish youth from their mothers and their culture only offends them to these lands. It is not their own culture that they are embarrassed and alienated but only these lands.

In the recent past, which is close as yesterday, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and Armenian were spoken in the same street in the southeast and east. We loved each other and were closer those days more than today. Today, almost one language is spoken in the east’s streets has not brought us closer to each other; contrary to popular belief, it has made us angry and distant. The strength of these lands stems from their wealth. Preserving this wealth is only possible by protecting the languages of this land. Education in the mother tongue does not divide us; it brings us closer to each other.

There is a problem of sincerity if the parliament members praise Ahmedi Xani and Feqiye Teyra, amongst other important Kurdish writers, but restrict reading their works in their original language: Kurdish.

It should not be forgotten that mother tongue education is a fundamental right. The right to mother tongue education is emphasized in the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is a party. Like all people, Kurds should be given the right to mother tongue education. For the most humane fundamental rights, one should not wait for decades for a positive statement or a step; fundamental rights should be given as soon as possible.


If you do not want a language, a history, a culture, and a nation not to disappear, please support this campaign.


To sign the petition of KDH (Kurdish Language movement)

Fadil AKSU




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