Leader of the coup d'état in September 1980 and seventh President of Turkey Kenan Evren has said it was a mistake to ban the public use of the Kurdish language in schools, official settings and non-music broadcasts.
In an interview on Wednesday with Milliyet daily's columnist Fikret Bila, Evren said he regrets imposing a ban on public use of the Kurdish language through Article 26 of the 1982 Constitution, which stated that no language prohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought and that any written or printed documents, phonograph records, magnetic or video tapes and other means of expression used in contravention of this provision shall be seized.
Evren said his observations during a visit to the eastern provinces triggered his decision to ban the use of Kurdish in public places. "Once I paid a visit to an elementary school in a village in one of the eastern provinces. I asked one of the students to read a text aloud, but both her reading and pronunciation was very bad. Then we figured it out that many teachers in the East and Southeast carried out schooling in Kurdish language."
Confessing that banning the Kurdish language was not a proper step to be taken on the path toward modernization and democratization, Evren added: "This ban was removed in 2002 through reforms implemented for Turkey's accession to the European Union. Anyway, we should have never imposed such bans."
The former general also contended that civil servants serving in the eastern and southeastern regions should speak Kurdish besides Turkish with the objective of developing closer ties with locals and furnishing better service to residents. Upon a question as to whether it would be necessary to permit education in Kurdish to help civil servants learn this language, Evren said: "Schooling in the Kurdish language cannot be permitted; yet there are language courses where Kurdish is taught freely. Those who wish to learn this language can apply to such courses."
Despite the soft stance he seems to have adopted towards the Kurds, Evren expressed, on the other hand, that it was Turkey's mistake not to execute the leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Öcalan. "I am in favor of the execution of those who deserve it," he said.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 08 Kasım 2007, 09:33