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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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KHRP Speaks at Seminar on Minority Language Rights in Turkey


Margaret Owen, Mark Muller and Robert Olson

KHRP spoke at a seminar entitled ‘The Language Question: Influence on the Kurdish Question in Turkey, 2007-2009’, which took place at Garden Court Chambers, London on Monday 6 April under the aegis of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) and the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

Hosted by BHRC and KHRP Chairman Mark Muller, the seminar featured presentations by Dr Robert Olson, Professor of Middle East Politics at the University of Kentucky, and Margaret Owen, KHRP Advisor on Women and Children’s Rights. The focus of the evening was the situation of Kurdish language rights in Turkey and how this relates to the social, cultural and economic position of the country’s Kurds, as well as broader patterns of conflict in the region.

Professor Olson, the author of seven books and over 90 research articles on Middle Eastern history and Kurdish nationalism, spoke about his research into the significance of language rights in relation to recent local elections in Turkey. Margaret Owen discussed her experiences as part of a team sent to monitor the elections, and her observations about the role of Kurdish identity in election campaigning.

There are strict controls on use of Kurdish and other minority languages in the media in Turkey, public schooling in Kurdish is illegal, and Kurdish politicians face prosecution and harassment for such acts as providing public services in Kurdish or speaking the language in official settings.

‘Turkey is obliged under European and international human rights law to respect the cultural and linguistic rights of Kurds and other minorities,’ said KHRP Executive Director Kerim Yıldız. ‘The current situation marginalises the country’s Kurdish population and disadvantages Kurds in education, in the job market and in countless other walks of life.’

KHRP is also pleased to announce the publication of the latest issue of its quarterly newsletter. Newsline 45 can be downloaded from the KHRP website here.