Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Turkey is Encouraged by UNICEF to Teach in Kurdish

As reported by Emma Ross-Thomas for the Turkish Daily News, “the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) deputy chief urged Turkey to try out teaching its Kurdish children in Kurdish.” Thomas reports that “speaking Kurdish in public used to be forbidden in Turkey and although bans on broadcasting have been eased in line with demands from the European Union, it remains a highly charged political issue.”

“International examples have indicated that it would improve educational standards if children were taught in their mother tongue,” Thomas reports. Turkey has a “primary education enrolment ratio of 90 percent, which slumps to 55 percent in secondary school,” Thomas reports, and “literacy rates stand at 95 percent for men and 80 percent for women.” However, “those figures hide a huge divide between prosperous western Turkey and the poor mainly Kurdish southeast,” reports Thomas.

In her report Thomas says that “for decades Ankara denied the existence of the Kurds as an ethnic group.” The European Union, which started accession talks with Turkey last year, has “criticized Turkey for not doing enough for Kurdish cultural rights,” she says.

To read this article in full click here.


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