Education in Mother Tongue: Eventual Solution to the Problem

Prof. Mümtazer Türköne
Prof. Mümtazer Türköne


Date posted: July 9, 2013

Mümtaz’er Türköne

Fethullah Gulen’s interview to Arbil based Rudaw newspaper will be a turning point in the solution of the Kurdish Problem.  Hodjaefendi puts a fundamental principle like a compass in front of us that should be followed by all.

Basic rights cannot be the subject of negotiation. Things bestowed by God cannot be denied by man. A very forward step comes out of this principle, that we should take today, and Hodjaefendi (Mr. Gulen) audaciously takes this step on our behalf: “Education in the mother tongue is the requirement of being just”. The last critical stage embracing the solution of the Kurdish Problem in its entirety was about taking this practical step and adopting the education in the mother tongue as a basic human right. The opening of this door by Hodjaefendi before everyone else in an elegant style and empathy-filled humanitarian call means overcoming many challenges in a critical time. Hodjaefendi’s spiritual authority is indisputable. This spiritual authority that shapes the future of Turkey by kneading the hearts and uniting them with the same ideal leads us all in coming up with solutions to the burning problems, as concurrently the high executive authority, the government, is preparing a regulation to enable education in the mother tongue.  Article 42 of the constitution will change. The clause in the last paragraph of item 42, which says “No language other than Turkish can be taught to Turkish citizens as their mother tongue in the educational,” meant a direct prohibition of Kurdish. Note how exclusivist the clause is.  This article prohibits the mother tongue of people in an offending way.  According to the news, this item will be amended to allow education in the mother tongue in private schools.

It is not hard to guess that Hodjaefendi’s interview to Rebwar Kerim of Rudaw newspaper precedes the government’s constitutional arrangement. I know Rebwar; he’s the best journalist of Northern Iraq region and like all good journalists his relations are multidimensional. He is close to Barzani administration. It is known that Hocaefendi takes critical steps like these, in a public and transparent manner, without involving in tactical calculations; therefore it is obvious to whom we owe while we safely pass through this critical bend. The matter of the education in the mother tongue was the last stop of the solution of the Kurdish problem.  The protection -not the recognition- of this right under the constitution will demonstrate that Turkey has unquestionably placed its ethnic problems within a universal framework that is in accordance with human rights.  The “private school” solution of the government turns the backers of these schools and the students into “volunteers”. If the right conditions are met, being a volunteer brings a healthy balance. And the right condition for the government is to subsidize all costs based on the number of students in these schools.

When it comes to education in Kurdish, it is not enough for the government to deliver this right. In addition, it should do a positive discrimination by getting rid of its past sins and showing respect for its citizens. What will be the consequence?  The unity, integrity and brotherhood of Turkey will be strengthened. All primitive memorizations will evaporate with the solution of this problem. The advantages of Turkish and the disadvantages of Kurdish are not the result of the constitution and laws and the public authorities that apply them. The Middle East is an integrating large market. The dominant language of this market is Turkish.

Source: Zaman Newspaper, June 27, 2013

Disclaimer: The original article is in Turkish. Slight deviations from the original meaning may have occurred due to the difficulties in translating phrases and idioms. PII volunteers translated the article.


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