International Mother Language Day: 21 February

(Mother language is a right and it should not be blocked)

21 Feburary was proclaimed as International Mother Language Day by UNESCO.

Mother language even as a concept is considered as dangerous in Turkey that is proud itself on Children’s Day. Despite the right of petition, children, who demand education in their mother language, can be dismissed from schools, universities. Mother language is still a taboo in Turkey.

The paragraphs 4 and 5 of the Article 39 of the Treaty of Lausanne, which has established the Turkish Republic, state;

“No restrictions shall be imposed on the free use by any Turkish national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, religion, in the press, or in publications of any kind or at public meetings.Notwithstanding the existence of the official language, adequate facilities shall be given to Turkish nationals of non-Turkish speech for the oral use of their own language before the Courts.”

According to the Treaty of Lausanne there cannot be even a constitution that is contrary to these provisions. What is the situation in Turkey? Still, Turkey continues to violate even the Treaty of Lausanne. Therefore the right of people, who want to speak in their mother language, has been being violated since the Treaty of Lausanne. It is clear that such a situation may cause serious legal results.

Even the Treaty of Lausanne has recognized languages of Turkish citizens that are not minority.

However the Turkish Constitution, which is an outcome of the military coup and has been prepared in 1982, does not recognize any language except for Turkish. In other words it completely different from the Treaty of Lausanne.

The Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution states that

“International agreements duly put into effect bear the force of law. No appeal to the Constitutional Court shall be made with regard to these agreements, on the grounds that they are unconstitutional. In the case of a conflict between international agreements in the area of fundamental rights and freedoms duly put into effect and the domestic laws due to differences in provisions on the same matter, the provisions of international agreements shall prevail”.


In accordance with fundamental human rights such as The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, The European Convention on Human Rights and Its Protocols, Convention on the Rights of the Child, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which Turkey has ratified, Turkey should recognize and implement (education) it.

There is an exam of sincerety for the Government, which states that it took a step with establishing the Kurdish TV. This exam is about to abolish prohibiton on languages and recogition of right of mother language.

Human Rights Association (IHD)

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