Books for the wounds of mother tongue

Books for the wounds of mother tongue

“Education in Mother Tongue and Minority Rights”, “Minorities and the Right to Education in Mother Tongue in International Law” and “The Mother Tongue Wound” are only a few examples of contemporary books that address languages in danger and their potential solutions.

Education in Mother Tongue and Minority Rights is a book compiling articles written by authors Ali İhsan Aksamaz, Şükrü Güvenç, Kemal Kök, Eyüp Demir and Turabi Saltık who are renowned for their works on folk cultures and their history.

While embracing each folk culture and their histories, the book also opens their demands and cultural needs to discussion and concludes by emphasizing socio-political emancipation struggle which takes its power from the working class as the ultimate solution. The book also takes into account the scientific aspect of these issues.

We find the following information on the rear cover:

“Education in mother tongue, minority rights and cultural rights have been dealt as national problems; ethnicity and cultural rights have been brought to the forefront of this discussion. However, it has to be noted that the discussions and solutions regarding these issues are political. Since this crucial topic is not discussed in an open, democratic and free environment, on the one hand it is cornered by the conservative, retrogressive and reactionary siege, thus stripped from its genuine essence; and on the other hand we encounter this topic among those who reduce it into a mere slogan.”

The political aspect at the forefront of the mother tongue issue

Süleyman S. Terzioğlu is another author that discusses the mother tongue issue in his work. In his book Minorities and Right to Education in Mother Tongue in International Law he states that the minority rights issues are both a global and a national phenomenon that is relevant to our times and will remain so.

The book underlines that the current discussion in Turkey remains on a political level, completely neglecting the legal aspect. The introductory text for this book which aims at providing a legal basis in order to contribute to a healthier political discussion includes the following statements:

“Discussions that are conducted in the lack of judicial information merely engenders contentious rhetoric instead of moving towards healthy solutions. In this respect, we have thought that considering education in mother tongue which is a major part of linguistic rights would prove useful. Finally, we aimed at drawing attention to a long neglected issue, the right to education in mother tongue for the Turks abroad.”

The book is separated into five main chapters: “Concept of Minority in International Law and the Historical Development of Protection of Minorities in the International Arena”, “Right to Education and its Scope in Turkish and International Law”, “Right to Education in Mother Tongue as a Linguistic Right”, “Education in Mother Tongue for Minorities of Turkey” and “Right to Education in Mother Tongue for the Turks Abroad”.

The Development of a Multi-linguistic Educational Approach

DISA’s own study, The Language Wound, aims at pointing out to the political, social, economic, psychological, educational and linguistic depredations of not using the Kurdish language in the educational system as well as remedying this situation by contributing to the measures that might dissolve these depredations.

While indicating the problematic political legacy of Turkey, the Language Wound identifies the problems this legacy continues to engender. Following this, the book is a piece that provides short and midterm solutions for this problem by observing experiences of different countries and also utilizing theoretical analyses procured from fieldwork data.

The introduction of the book is as follows: “The Language Wound hopes to contribute to the development of a multi-linguistic educational approach in Turkey which also includes the usage of Kurdish as one of the languages of instruction as well as providing a basis for the ongoing and deepening debate around education in mother tongue.” (ELV/EKN)


This post is also available in: Türkçe Kurdî