THE DEFIANT ONE

“Our mistreatment was just not right, and I was tired of it.”
~ Rosa Parks.

Here he is, the Defiant One:

At about 2:03, Türk begins speaking in the “unknown language” and at 2:10 he’s cut off. The TRT 3/MECLIS TV talking head explains that they cut the broadcast because the Turkish constitution and political parties law only permit Turkish to be used in the TBMM. TRT 3 apologizes to their viewers.

On the other hand, there are those who disagree with TRT 3’s interpretation of the constitution:

[B]ianet spoke to Prof. Dr. Mithat Sancar, a lawyer at Ankara University. Sancar was of the opinion that Türk speaking Kurdish in a party group meeting did not violate either the constitution or the Law on Political Parties. He argued that on the contrary, those trying to widen the ban expressed in the law were violating the principle of legislative responsibility in the constitution.

The constitutional article, so Sancar, did not mean that languages apart from the official language were forbidden. If that were the case, then neither could the Prime Minister say anything in Kurdish, nor could the recently set up state TRT 6 channel broadcast in Kurdish.

He added that the speech in a party group meeting could not be counted as a formal procedure.

Taraf’s interview with Mithat Sancar was published here in December, although it includes no mention of RTÜK laws which severely limit Kurdish language broadcasts.

The wider question here is not a matter of whether or not the constitution or political parties law allows the use of Kurdish. The wider question has to do with morality and ethics, not legality; because many times laws are written and instituted by scoundrels to protect their own interests. At one time in the US, it was illegal for African Americans to sit in the front seats of buses. Was Rosa Parks, therefore, a criminal for refusing to move to the back of the bus? No. Like Ahmet Türk, she was a Defiant One. The law loses all its meaning when it is devoid of ethics and morality

Bianet has a copy of Ahmet Türk’s speech at the DTP group meeting. It includes the following:

“21 February is International Mother Language Day. Language is very important in Kurdish history. Because the Kurds who did not know any languages apart from their own were put under a lot of pressure. During the military coup, the state arrested many people and put them in prison. I was also arrested. Our families came for visits, and they wanted to talk Kurdish, because they spoke no other language. But because they knew that if they spoke Kurdish it would create problems for us and them, and that we were beaten for it, they could not speak. Sometimes we defied the ban and said ‘how are you mother?’ because we wanted them to go home without their hearts broken. Later we paid for it and were beaten. At that time I promised myself that one day, I would speak my mother tongue at an official meeting.”

“The Prime Minister is praising his party and their projects on TRT 6 (the newly set up state channel broadcasting in Kurdish). But when members of the DTP greet others in their own language, they are taken to court. They are investigated. When a mayor speaks to his people in his own language, he is taken to court. But when the Prime Minister speaks Kurdish, no one says anything. We find this wrong, hypocritical. What has the Prime Minister done to make the language free, we wonder.

You go, boyfriend!

In other news, DTP’s Gülten Kışanak has proposed a bill that will make the FORBIDDEN LETTERS helal for use in Turkey. If it passes, not only will this bill make it possible for Kurdish parents to give their children Kurdish names, but it will also make it possible for BMW to be known in Turkey as “BMW”, instead of simply as “BM”.

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