Monday, October 17, 2011

Turkey's first Kurdish dept opens amid political tension

From Hürriyet Daily News:

The beginning of Turkey's first undergraduate Kurdish program has been welcomed but the development comes amid charter-related tension
After years of efforts, a number of rejections and strong debates, Turkey’s first undergraduate-level Kurdish language and literature department is welcoming students for its first class today in the southeastern province Mardin’s Artuklu University.
The beginning of the first undergraduate-level Kurdish program, which many consider a positive development, comes at a time of recent tension over discussions on Turkey’s new constitution, which are about to commence between the ruling and oppositional parties, including the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which is primarily focused on the Kurdish issue.
While tension among the delegates is expected to rise especially on the first three articles, which discuss “the characteristics of the Republic,” an academic move to officially integrate Kurdish culture into Turkey’s education system is already regarded as a sign of development.
“When we established the School of Eastern Languages, I had planned to set up a Kurdish Language and Literature Department and kept re-applying to YÖK [Higher Education Board]. This city is the center of upper Mesopotamia, and Kurdish [culture] is a major part of this,” Artuklu University Rector Serdar Bedii Omay said.
Full story here.

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