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Federal Chancellor Merkel goes to Turkey (October 5.-6.)

Merkel must stand up against the discrimination of the 15 million Kurds in Turkey

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, Berlin, 4. October 2006

Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel must stand up against the continuing discrimination of the 15 million Kurds and for the equal status of the Kurdish language. This was the plea of the Society for Threatened Peoples (GfbV) to the Prime Minister on Wednesday. "The Kurdish question in Turkey can only be solved if the Kurdish language is treated equally with Turkish in the Kurdish-speaking area of the south-east of the country in schools and universities, in the mass media and the other fields of public life", says the letter of the human rights organisation to Ms Merkel, who is travelling to Turkey on Thursday. The recognition of Kurdish as an official language has only been given symbolic value and in practice there have been so far no positive results.

The continuing repression of Kurdish journalists, writers or politically involved people in public life, who have dared to exercise the right to free speech, is "unbearable", criticised the GfbV with reference to the court case against 56 mayors from the Kurdish area. They have been taken to court on account of a letter written to the government of Denmark, in which they ask for the Kurdish satellite station Roj-TV not to be forbidden, which is what Turkey wants. The Kurds are still being treated as third class people by Turkish provincial authorities, courts and members of the military stationed in the Kurdish region. Turkey must also stop the boycott measures against the federal province of Kurdistan in neighbouring Iraq and no longer isolate it.

The GfbV also calls for the recognition of the Assyrian-Aramaic Christians, the Alevites and the Yezidi as equally entitled religious bodies.

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