Friday, December 4, 2009

Scottish MP supports Kurdish language rights in Turkey


Edinburgh - Dr Bill Wilson, an SNP MSP for the West of Scotland and a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on the Scots Language, today announced that he had lodged a motion calling on Turkey to respect the rights of Kurdish-speakers, who at present may find themselves prosecuted for using their language in the public domain. Dr Wilson commented: “As a speaker of Scots and a former environmental scientist, I have an interest in both environmental issues and regional/minority languages, and the parallels are obvious: biological and linguistic diversity are equally under threat, and the consequences for humanity are dire. When people lose their language and culture their wellbeing can be dramatically affected, and we are also all the poorer for the loss of that culture’s unique attributes – its 'take' on the world and what it is to be human. “The situation of Kurdish-speakers in Turkey is particularly bad, as it is not a case here of simple assimilation or population decline, but of active oppression by the Turkish state. I understand that Kurdish politicians face prosecution and harassment for merely publishing public information brochures in Kurdish or speaking it in official settings. Private Kurdish-language broadcasters face oppressive regulations, and existing legislation apparently even prohibits the state-owned TRT-6 Kurdish channel from broadcasting educational or children’s programming in Kurdish. These violations are not unconnected with other abuses, such as a lack of democratic political representation and of freedom of expression and association." “As my motion makes clear, I believe that Turkey should not be admitted to the EU until it adheres to the Copenhagen political criteria for minority rights.” (Photo: Rudaw).

© Rudaw