Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said every citizen of Turkey has a right to learn and write in their mother tongue, in a move acknowledging a long-demanded right by the country’s Kurdish population, the Cumhuriyet daily reported on Monday.
Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks came during a fast-breaking dinner with opinion leaders from Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish east and southeast regions over the weekend.
“Debates should be transparent. It is a just demand for all our citizens to want to be able to learn and write in their mother tongue. But the venue for this debate should be the Turkish Parliament. An environment of trust should be created, and weapons should be eliminated. Nothing can be achieved through the use of weapons,” said Kılıçdaroğlu.
He was referring to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorism, which has been ongoing in Turkey since 1984. The PKK has been waging its bloody campaign under the pretext of aiming to expand the rights of Turkey’s Kurdish population.
According to Article 42 of the Turkish Constitution, ratified in 1982, two years after the military overthrew the government in a violent coup, “No language other than Turkish can be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens.” Turkey has so far refrained from acceding to or fully complying with international treaties that guarantee the right to use mother tongues in education.