A prison administration in İstanbul asked a female prisoner to speak in Turkish rather than Kurdish on the phone with her mother or be deprived of the right to make and receive telephone calls.
“Year: 2018. Place: Bakırköy Women’s Prison. B., who called her mother on the phone, was warned: If you do not speak Turkish, you will be deprived of the right to make and receive phone calls. We have to understand what you say. Do not speak in Kurdish, but in Turkish. We will listen to your conversation next week. If you repeat it, we will cut it off,” Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, one of Turkey’s most renowned human rights activists and former president of the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples (Mazlumder), tweeted on Sunday.
Gergerlioğlu also shared a photo of a banner on a wall in Diyarbakır Prison after the 1980 coup d’état: “Speak Turkish, speak longer.”
Diyarbakır Prison is known for the torture and ill treatment that took place there in the post-coup era of the 1980s.
A regulation that allows prisoners to speak in languages other than Turkish became effective on June 22, 2009. The regulation requires that prisoners speak in Turkish only in cases of possible criminal activity.