Pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy Adil Kurt has submitted a bill to the Parliament Speaker's Office seeking to legalize the use of Kurdish letters ê, î, x, w and q in the Turkish alphabet.
Kurt's bill proposes a change to the current Law No. 1353 concerning the use of the Turkish alphabet and intends to legalize the public use of Kurdish words and names including Kurdish letters.
“There are numerous legal cases against local administrators in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country over leaflets, posters and invitation cards published in Kurdish. Turkish courts have ordered several times that Kurdish names given to parks, streets and cultural centers be changed, citing Article 222 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK] [which criminalizes the use of letters which are not included in the Turkish alphabet in public communications],” Kurt stated in his proposal.
The bill would allow the use of Kurdish names which include letters ê, î, x, w and q on identity cards, marriage certificates, title deeds and in any public area. In his proposal, the BDP deputy also called for the right to use one's mother tongue freely in education and health settings, as well as any public place.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's government has boosted cultural and language rights for Kurds, who make up around 20 percent of Turkey's 75 million strong population, since taking power a decade ago. Among the initiatives was the dedication of one of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation's (TRT) channels to broadcasting in Kurdish. Last month, Parliament passed a law sanctioning the use of Kurdish in court.