Turkey Allows Kurdish Language Instruction in Schools
In a step toward stopping a conflict with Kurdish rebels in the southeast of the country, Turkey announced plans to allow schools to teach the Kurdish language. Gulten Kisanak of the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, however, said that allowing only elective lessons for Kurdish speakers “amounts to oppression.” The move is a continuation of an effort started by the ruling Justice and Development Party in 2009 to persuade the Kurdistan Workers’ Party to end their decades-long fight. The government also announced yesterday that the 1993 death of then-President Turgut Ozal should be re-investigated; Ozal was of Kurdish background and allegedly had been planning a reconciliation with Kurdish rebels shortly before his death.
Meanwhile, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan, Nechirvan Barzani, traveled to Istanbul last week for the 2012 World Economic Forum, and attended meetings with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglou. Ofra Bengio writes in the Jerusalem Post that no one is doing more to help the cause of Kurdish independence in Iraq than Turkey.