HDP MPs mark Mother Language Day: “Language is life”

Deputies displayed banners reading “Language is life” in several languages.

Deputies of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) held a press conference in the Parliament to mark February 21 International Mother Language Day.

The press conference was attended by MPs Dersim Dağ, Meral Danış Beştaş, Tülay Hatimoğulları, Serpil Kemalbay, Kemal Bülbül, Zeynel Özen, Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit, Garo Paylan, Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki, Kemal Peköz and Mahmut Toğrul.

Dersim Dağ spoke in the name of the deputies who displayed banners reading “Language is life” in several languages.

Pointing out the Turkish state’s assimilation policies, Dağ said the following; “Despite the fact that our geography has a multilingual, multicultural and multireligious structure, the monist policies pursued throughout the history of Turkish Republic are leading to the gradual eradication of our diversities every passing day. The policies of assimilation have partially succeeded. Some languages spoken in Turkey have already become extinct while some others face extinction. Languages other than Turkish were banned in public services, education and even on the streets.”

Pointing to the Turkish state’s efforts to annihilate various languages in the country, Dağ continued; “Pressures against Kurdish, the mother tongue of as many as 20 million people, have increasingly continued in every period. The Kurdish language continues to exist despite the systematic repression it has faced. In 2016, the daily newspapers and institutions operating in Kurdish were shut down through statutory decrees and multilingual public services were suspended. The pressure on Kurdish and other languages represent the state’s monist mindset which should be brought to an end and all living languages in Turkey should be secured.”