Date posted: June 26, 2013
Well-known Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen has voiced strong support for education in one’s mother tongue, in reference to allowing the use of Kurdish in education in Turkey, and said basic human rights and freedoms could not be the object of any political bargaining as they are the natural rights of human beings.
Speaking to Rudaw, an online newspaper in northern Iraq’s Arbil, Gülen touched upon a wide array of issues ranging from the ongoing settlement process aimed at ending the decades-old Kurdish dispute to regional developments.
Rights and freedoms cannot be bargained
Human rights and freedoms, Gülen said, are natural rights and no one has the authority to grant those rights to others if they were favors. “Every human being, including prophets, is equal because of the fact that they were created by God as human beings. Without recognition of this fact, there would be no possibility of a state of justice or a legal system.”
He asserted that recognition of the use of mother tongue in education as a principle is indicative of a state’s fair treatment of its citizens.
He spoke on the necessity of economic and social investment in some regions, where Kurds form the majority of the population, to increase the level of literacy and education which are the primary causes of underdevelopment.
He urged state officials to bolster ties between eastern and western regions of the country through various socio-economic projects in a move to enhance national unity.
Regarding the ongoing peace settlement that the government launched in a move to find a political solution to the Kurdish conflict, Gülen called on both sides to adopt a reconciliatory tone with great sensitivity towards avoiding inflammatory remarks in a bid not to offend the other side in the fragile process.
He also spoke on the Turkish schools in northern Iraq, highlighting the warm welcome of the locals towards the schools.
“As far as I follow, Turkish schools in northern Iraq not only work to deepen the integration of locals with the world, but also to enrich local culture. Activities to promote Kurdish eloquently illustrate that any kind of ideological activity is alien to the founding philosophy of those schools,” Gülen said in response to criticism raised by some Kurdish nationalists that the schools promote cultural assimilation of Kurds.
The past 20 years have removed any kinds of doubts over the presence of the schools in northern Iraq as Kurds have embraced them in cementing ties of brotherhood with Turks, Gülen said.
Turkey must defend Kurds and defends their rights everywhere in the world
Gülen insisted that Turkey should not only grant “every right” to its Kurdish citizens, such as recognition of use of Kurdish in education, but should also help Kurds who are suffering in other parts of the world. According to him, Turkey should appear as a representative of Kurds who face legal, political, ethnic and religious difficulties across the world and should defend their rights at the UN and in other international organizations.
Source: Today’s Zaman 24 June 2013