Languages: Kurdî ‏سۆرانی‎

Open Letter: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commits crime agaiagainst humanity

The Language and Education Commission of the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) send an letter to United Nations(UN) and EU Presidency on the Kurdish language education in Turkey. We said hat “Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan commits crime against humanity”.

We hereby present to you extracts of select documentation of crimes by state and government officials related to the ban on Kurdish education and teaching which constitutes an existential matter for the Kurdish people in Turkey.

Kurdish education is being refused in order to assimilate the Kurdish language. This process of assimilation has been conducted systematically since the creation of the Republic and continues today.

The extracts of evidence presented below are gathered from state reports, statements by the Armed Forces and speeches delivered by the Prime Minister. The carefully planned process of assimilation will continue as long as Kurdish is banned from general education and is denied through legal and constitutional measures.  The subsequent result will be the tragic extinction of a language and the doom of the Kurdish people.

Assimilation is clearly a crime against humanity. During a press conference in Germany together with German chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan stated that “assimilation is a crime against humanity” in relation to protecting the Turkish language in Germany. However, these words obviously do not apply when it comes to Turkey where the Prime Minister himself, as well as the entire government, intentionally seek to assimilate the Kurdish language.

We seek your immediate support for, and solidarity with the Kurdish people in relation to solving the issue of Kurdish teaching and education, a core right violated by these crimes against humanity committed by the Turkish State and government.


Chairman of the KNK (Kurdistan National Congress) Language and Education Commission
Rojan Hazim

Since the early years of the Turkish Republic plans have been designed and projects have been carried out in order to assimilate Kurds. One of the most important documents is Şark Islahat Planı  (Plan to Reform the East, adopted in 1925). According to this plan the Kurds are to be assimilated and “reformed” through Turkification. Three articles of this plan (articles 13, 14 and 16) are sufficient for the understanding of exactly how horrific the motives of the Turkish Republic are.

Document I:
“Plan to Reform (*) the East”

13) In provinces, villages, public offices and agencies, bazaars and markets in places that are originally Turkish but in risk of losing ground to Kurdishness like Malatya, Elaziz, Diyarıbekir, Bitlis, Van, Muş, Urfa, Ergani, Hozat, Erciş, Adilcevaz, Ahlat, Palu, Çarsancak, Çemişkezek, Ovacık, Hısnımansur, Behisni, Arga, Hekimhan, Birecik, Çermik it is forbidden to speak other languages than Turkish, which will be punished as an hostile act against the government and municipality.

14) In places that are originally Turkish but bear the risk of turning Kurdish in Arabic speaking neighbourhoods of provinces like Siirt, Mardin, Savur Turkish agencies, girl schools, boarding schools for girls must be established to generate demand. Especially in Dersim, students must as soon as possible be saved from getting involved in Kurdish activities.

16) The Kurds that are randomly inhabiting certain areas in provinces west of the Firat River must
as soon as possible be subjected to a ban on the Kurdish language; and emphasis must be put on the establishment of girl schools and getting the women to speak Turkish.

September 24 1925
M. Cemil (Minister of Domestic Affairs) Mahmut Esat (Defence Minister)
Mirliva Kâzım (Deputy Head of the Chief of Staff)
Mustafa Halik (Member of Parliament from Çankırı)
(*) As is evident from the text, the word ‘reform’ actually means elimination in this context.

Document II:
The Constitution of the Turkish Republic:

ARTICLE 3. – The Turkish State, country and nation are an indivisible unity.
ARTICLE 4. – The 1st article of the Constitution stating the republican regime, the 2nd article regarding the properties of the republic as well as the 3rd article cannot be amended nor can an amendment be proposed.
ARTICLE 42. – Languages besides Turkish cannot be taught as a mother tongue nor be used in education.
ARTICLE 66. – Every citizen of the Turkish State is a Turk.

Document III:
The Prime Minister’s speech in Germany in 2008:
In Germany, Prime Minister Erdogan stood up against the assimilation of Turks but continues to assimilate the Kurds of Turkey:

Köln – BIA News Agency – BIANET / (NZ/TK)
February 11 2008
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a speech in “Köln Arena” in Germany before Turks residing in Germany. Here he said:
“Nobody should expect you to assimilate for assimilation is a crime against humanity; I fully understand your sensitivities in the assimilation debate. And no one should expect you to be tolerant while you stand at the point of assimilation”.

Document IV:
Prime Minister in Kurdistan, in the Kurdish city of Hakkari to Kurds: “Love it or leave it”:

November 2 2008 14:11
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:
“We say one nation. We say one flag. We say one homeland. We say one state. Who opposes this? He who opposes has no say in this country. He can go wherever he wants to go. The same applies everywhere in the world”.

Document V:
Prime Minister’s speech in Parliament

December 27 2010 7:53
Radikal / Turkish Newspaper
In his speech Erdogan said “The Republic of Turkey is one state one nation one flag”.
During the closing speech after the 2011 budget negotiation sessions in the Grand Assembly, Prime Minister Erdogan responded to criticism from the opposition:
“The Republic of Turkey is one state one nation one flag. The official language is Turkish, and any attempt to change this reality is unacceptable. We will not allow any altering on our soil. I say this openly: This is a dangerous game. The autonomy debate is an ugly plot by those who can’t accept the fact that Turkey is democratizing and approaching advanced democratic standards”.

Document VI:
Speech by Ilker Basbug

Turkey’s Chiefs of Staff usually take a political standpoint in reproducing through military rhetoric, the traditional view that “every citizen of Turkey is a Turk”. We present an excerpt from a speech by former Chief of  Staff Ilker Basbug who examines Turkishness.

Istanbul – BIA News Agency
April 14 2009, Tuesday
General Ilker Basbug speaking at the War Academy, stated:
“Dear guests and fellow soldiers. The establishment of the Republic of Turkey is a revolution. The aim of the revolution was to create a nation-state. Accordingly ATATÜRK defines the Turkish nation as follows:
“The Turkish people who created the Republic of Turkey is called the Turkish nation.”

Thus we must conclude that:
– The recognition of secondary cultural identities on a legal and constitutional basis requires recognition of collective rights. This is not possible within the framework of the constitution of the Republic of Turkey and the unitary nation-state.
– The Turkish Armed Forces are a party to the unitary nation-state given to us by ATATÜRK.

Document VII:
At a point in time where Kurds are voicing demands for teaching and education in their mother tongue, the Chief of Staff are seeking to obstruct their demands for democratic rights with the following with the coup-like statement.

TSK, Chief of Staff
DATE : December 17 2010
TIME : 15:05
NO : BA – 03 / 10

1. The Republic of Turkey, the greatest creation delivered to us by the Great Leader of Atatürk, has risen to point of today due to its founding philosophy of popular sovereignty, principles of “unitary state” and “nation-state”, democratic structure and sound legal base.

2. The chief statute of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey is the 3rd article stating that “The Turkish State, country and nation are an indivisible unity”.

3. Language, culture and state unity is some of the most important aspects of being a nation. The consequences of lacking language unity are apparent throughout the history.

4. It is with great concern that we are following the recent debate in the public related to our language and the efforts to change the founding philosophy of our Republic.

5. The Armed Forces of Turkey have always been and will continue to be a party in protecting the nation-state, the unitary state and secular state within the framework of our constitutional duty to protect the independence and unity of the Turkish people the Republic and the democracy.

We respectfully inform the public. Last Updated ( Friday, 07 January 2011 09:38 )