‘We will continue with our Kurdish language journalism’

The publisher of Welat newspaper, which no printing house can print for fear of government repercussion, said: “They fear our language, but we will continue with our Kurdish language journalism.”

When the Turkish government confiscated the Gün Printing House, the only Kurdish language newspaper published in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan Welat could not come out. The administration appealed with other printing houses to continue publication but were rejected. Printing house owners told the paper that state officials had pressured them and ordered them to not print that newspaper. When the paper was not able to be printed, yesterday’s issue was published on their website, on social media posts and multiplied by photocopy. The newspaper ran the title, “Ji zimanê me ditirsin / They fear our language” and Publisher Zeynel Abidin Bulut said: “They fear our language. We will continue to wave the flag of free press and meet with our readers.”

The story of Welat began in 1992 as a weekly newspaper Welatê Me ve Welat, and continued as Azadiya Welat, Rojeva Medya and Welat. On August 26, 2017 a new phase started for Welat under the motto, “Naşikê û Nakeve”. The 36 year long tradition, for the first time, can’t find a printing house to print the paper. Since March 29, 2018, no printer will print Welat due to pressure by the AKP government.


The pages of the paper prepared under the title “Ji zimanê me ditirsin” were shared along with the note, “Dear readers, due to oppression and obstacles, today’s issue could not be printed. We will be sharing the paper on social media.” The paper reached its readers by photocopy in many provinces. The black and white photocopied pages were delivered to readers and subscribers by the paper’s distributors. Readers expressed surprise and sorrow when they saw the photocopied newspaper.


Publisher Zeynel Abidin Bulut participated in the distribution of the 217th issue of the newspaper that came out as a photocopy to subscribers in Amed. Bulut said they contacted many printers to have the paper printed, but they all refused due to governmental pressure. Bulut added that until they find a courageous printing house, they will continue publishing an e-newspaper and continue e-journalism and stressed that they will continue their mother tongue journalism efforts, despite everything.


Bulut said dozens of journalists have been martyred, disappeared under custody, threatened by prison and fines as part of the oppression and attacks against free press and Kurdish press, but this tradition has continued its path with a great will for resistance. Bulut added: “In the ‘90s, the paper stood tall and exposed the governments of the day. Under AKP rule, the methods for oppression and intimidation were enrichened. They no longer limit themselves to killing, shutting down and arresting. They now steal, and put a state officer to head things. They raided and confiscated the Özgürlükçü Demokrasi newspaper and the Gün Printing House. The government thinks they can prevail through these.”


Bulut stressed that the free press tradition and Kurdish language journalism will continue despite all oppression and attacks, and that no printing house in Istanbul, Ankara and Adana agreeing to print Welat due to pressure and a fear of the AKP government shows how much they fear Kurdish and Kurdish language journalism. Bulut stated that as the Welat newspaper they will never be silent in the face of pressure and they will continue to prepare the paper: “Our website is acive, we are utilizing social media and we will be delivering photocopies in many cities.”