The Republican People's Party (CHP) will propose a bill that would allow for education in languages other than Turkish. Turkey's Kurds have long been demanding the right to speak Kurdish freely. Currently, Kurdish is not taught within Turkey's educational system.
The CHP is prepared to bring a bill -- which was initially shaped in 1989 -- to Parliament that would allow languages other than Turkish to be used for education in Turkey. The CHP's central executive committee member Sinan Yerlikaya said reports on the Southeast and the East prepared by his party in 1989 were updated to reflect the changes of the past two decades, adding that the earlier draft on using languages other than Turkish was to be re-submitted to Parliament.
“The state has to take some responsibility in improving the situation of using one’s native language. It is at this point absolutely necessary for individuals to be able to speak their own mother tongue. A new draft similar to the one from 1989 might be submitted to Parliament.”
The CHP has seemingly taken a softer line in its policies concerning the East and the Southeast, where it lost a significant amount of votes in the July 22 general elections last year.
Yerlikaya, speaking to the ANKA news agency, stated that he believed the CHP report from 1989 was still up to date. He said the draft based on reports prepared by 16 legislators, including CHP leader Deniz Baykal, could be brought to Parliament again by the CHP after slight revisions. “We support the mother tongue of ethnic groups other than Turkish being taught and developed through private education,” he noted. He said private institutions could be set up for such language education.
Stressing that foreign language teaching is a part of Turkey’s education system, he said: “There are private schools based on foreign-language education. It is impossible to destroy somebody’s native language. Language is a means of communication. As long as the official language remains Turkish, other languages should be taught by special means. We plan to make this happen.” He also stated his belief that only the CHP could solve this problem.
1989 law proposal
The bill on “Usage of Non-Turkish Languages” by Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP) deputies in 1989 covered the speaking, learning, teaching, broadcasting and printing in languages other than Turkish. The bill, if it had been passed, would have given Cabinet the authority to decide on languages other than Turkish that can be taught in Turkish schools.