Turkey: The Country's Zaza are Speaking Out About their Language
The Zaza language is frequently lumped together with Kurdish, but those who speak it in Turkey are now asking the language -- spoken by an estimated four million -- be given its due. From a Hurriyet Daily News article about a new push by Zaza activists in Turkey:
“The [state-run] TRT broadcasts [in Zazaki] for only a few minutes, and this is not enough. The duration of these broadcasts need to be lengthened and their content needs to be diversified,” Mehmet Tüzün, the chairman of Zaza Language and Culture Association, or Zaza-Der, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.
Zaza-Der opened its first office in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district at the end of April to help serve the country Zaza community, which is estimated to total 4 million people in Turkey.
“The teaching of our language at an academic level also represents a second step [in gaining our] linguistic rights. State institutions are dominated by the ‘one nation, one language’ mindset. Our people have not passed on their language even to their children to avoid running into problems,” said Tüzün.
Zaza-Der will be lobbying for broadcasting and education rights in their native language during their trip to Ankara and plans to request assistance from the Education Ministry to have textbooks published in Zazaki, Tüzün said.
“A significant portion of the Zaza thought it was sufficient to [solely] learn Kurdish because it was [mistakenly] believed that the Zaza tounge was an offshoot of Kurdish. This turned out to be a big mistake, however,” said Tüzün, explaining the reason why many Zaza failed to hold protect their mother tongue.
You can find the full article here.