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Kurds call for language rights in 2011, Diyarbakir / credit: Unknown

21/06/2016 - 13:24 0
Teachers in Turkey Suspended for Speaking Kurdish - HDP MP Raises Question

Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) parliamentarian Ibrahim Ayhan has asked newly appointed Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, whether "speaking Kurdish" is a crime in the penal code, after 3 teachers were reportedly suspended following an anonymous complaint.

“According to the news in the media, an unidentified person living in Ankara messaged the Prime Ministry Communication Center and claimed that three teachers at Gülalibey Primary School, which is located in the Siverek district of Şanlıurfa, S.Ş., M.Y. and B.K., haven’t been attending flag raising ceremonies, have been speaking Kurmanji and Zazaki (different dialects of Kurdish) among each other and have been praising the ‘organization,’ as far as he understood,” Ibrahim Ayhan said, in a parliamentary question he presented to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on June 16.

An investigation was conducted by the Siverek Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which took the three teachers’ testimonies. Eventually, the chief prosecutor said “no evidence could be obtained” and made a decision for non-prosecution over charges of “terror organization propaganda.”

“Despite the prosecutor office’s decision, M.Y. working in Kahta and S.Ş. working in Yumurtalık (both appointed from Gülalibey Primary School) were suspended from their duties on grounds of an administrative investigation upon correspondence by the Siverek Governor’s Office,” Ayhan said.

“Charges which weren’t in the initial claim were added to the preliminary survey document that formed the basis of the suspension. M.Y. has been charged with ‘praising the BDP’ [predecessor of the Peoples’ Democratic Party – HDP] MPs, ‘live tracking the Gezi Park protests by phone’ and ‘calling in teachers to protests that were organized by Eğitim-Sen [the Education and Science Workers’ Union in Turkey],’” he said. “As for S.Ş., he was charged with ‘finding the government unjust concerning the Dec. 17-25 process and the issue concerning the confinement of private teaching institutions,’” he added, referring to the now-dropped Dec. 17 and Dec. 25, 2013, corruption scandal involving prominent government ministers and President Erdogan.

“How do you evaluate the charges of ‘speaking Kurdish among each other’ leveled against the teachers? Is there a penalty for ‘speaking Kurdish’ present in the penal codes? What is the justification for teaching Kurdish, which is being taught at schools as an ‘optional course,’ if it is not to be spoken at schools?” Ayhan asked Yıldırım.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News