ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Rudaw) — The jailed Kurdish leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has warned that the Kurdish language is in danger of disappearing if the Turkish government keeps prohibiting it.
“Each of the languages on the Earth is individually beautiful and precious. It is very important to adopt or promote languages which are prohibited or on the brink of extinction. Kurdish is one of those languages,” the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) tweeted through his lawyer.
Demirtas, who previously said that he is not fluent in Kurdish because he did not have time to develop it, has started improving his Kurdish over the past year by reading books.
The 45-year-old politician was born in Elazig province, where many speak the Kurdish dialect of Zazaki. He publicly speaks in Turkish. The majority of Kurds speak the Kurmanji dialect.
A number of Kurdish political parties in Turkey, including the HDP, recently held a panel in Diyarbakir in a bid to promote the Kurdish language.
In Demirtas’ tweets, he expressed support for the work of some Kurdish artists and academics who have been promoting the language in the country despite censorship.