Teacher expelled for speaking Kurdish in southern Turkey school

A teacher was expelled from a Turkish school in southern Mersin province, for speaking Kurdish and Arabic with his students, Iraqi Kurdish news outlet Kurdistan 24 reported on Sunday.

Twenty-three-year-old Hüdai Morsümbül is also facing investigation for encouraging the students to register for elective courses in Kurdish, it said.

Kurdish (Kurmanji and Zazaki) language, has been offered as an elective subject in Turkish primary and secondary schools since 2012, as part of reforms introduced by then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party to ease tensions with the Kurdish minority, who account for approximately 15 percent of the country’s population.

"I emphasised that students and parents should be informed during the elective course registration process as per regulations," Morsümbül, who denied any wrongdoing, told the news outlet.

Kurdish language has faced periodical and ad-hoc bans in Turkey over the past few decades during a war between the Turkish military and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an outlawed and armed group seeking autonomy for Turkey’s Kurds.

In February, Turkish police detained four street musicians performing a Kurdish song in Istanbul’s historic Istiklal Avenue, the famous street running off Taksim Square.

In October 2020, the governor of Istanbul banned the Kurdish theatrical play "Beru," shortly before its first performance. It had been performed for three years both in Turkey and abroad.   

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