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Microphone Silenced in Turkish Parliament: A Dispute Over Kurdish Speech on World Mother Language Day

On World Mother Language Day in Turkey, the microphone of DEM Party deputy Beritan Güneş Altın, who spoke Kurdish in the Parliament, was turned off. Deputy Speaker of the Parliament from the MHP, Celal Adan, interrupted the speech by saying, “According to Article 3 of our Constitution, the Turkish state is an indivisible whole with its territory and nation…”

Beritan Güneş Altın, a deputy from the Equality and Democracy Party (DEM Party) for Mardin, took the floor in Kurdish during the General Assembly of the Parliament on the occasion of February 21, World Mother Language Day. Güneş Altın’s microphone was turned off as soon as she began speaking in Kurdish. Then Celal Adan stated that Kurdish could not be spoken in the Parliament.

Reacting to Adan by saying, “Do you consider the celebration of World Mother Language Day as propaganda!” Altın said, “Then go and tell your AKP mayoral candidates not to do Kurdish propaganda in Mardin, Diyarbakır, Urfa. Do not expose your hypocrisy in this way. I will celebrate the language of the world’s peoples in Kurdish.” Afterward, when Altın’s microphone was turned back on and she began to speak Kurdish again, her microphone was turned off once more.

In response, DEM Group Deputy Chairperson Sezai Temelli said, “Today is International Mother Language Day… It’s impossible to understand this intolerance. Moreover, this celebration does not contradict any article of the Constitution. We also know that the official language in Turkey is Turkish… But this does not mean we will not use our mother tongue. Please respect this.

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