“He was charged with using an ‘illegal letter'”

Dan Lewis at Now I Know on (now-easing) Turkish laws governing Kurdish cultural expression:

…until the early 1990s, using Kurdish in public was technically illegal (albeit not often enforced). Still to date, the Turkish government does not recognize the Kurdish language, and, therefore, the letters Q, W, and X do not exist in any official Turkish capacity. And while the law mostly goes unenforced and unnoticed, it has been used opportunistically to suppress Kurdish culture. Kurds were not allowed to use those letters when naming their children as recently as 2004, by way of one example. And in 2007, according to Public Radio International, when a Turkish mayor issued a greeting card wishing his townsfolk a happy “Nowruz” — the Kurdish spelling for the Kurdish and Persian New Year — he was charged with “using an illegal letter.” Really. (The charges were dropped.)

One Comment

  • This old post of mine contains links to the Turkish legislation, which is enforced selectively against the Kurds.