Kurdish university in the pipeline for southeast

Published 21.06.2015 20:32

A foundation in Turkey is looking to build the country's first university with a Kurdish curriculum, Turkish media reported.

Although education in the Kurdish language is allowed in private schools, no university has an entire curriculum in Kurdish like the one the Mezopotamya Foundation has set out to have in a new school that will be built in Diyarbakır, a predominantly Kurdish city in southeastern Turkey.

Media outlets quoting the foundation's executives said they were in the process of obtaining permission for the establishment of the university that will initially have four faculties including Education, Fine Arts, Social Science and Medicine. The foundation wants to name the university "Kurdistan" or Land of Kurds, a name given to parts of southeastern Turkey by autonomy-seeking Kurds and members of the terrorist organization PKK. The name will likely be rejected by authorities as it implies a self-rule for the Kurds, the ultimate goal of the PKK. The board of the Mezopotamya Foundation includes lawmakers from the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), an opposition party linked to the PKK.

The terrorist organization was behind last year's Kurdish education campaign in several southeastern cities in which activists linked to the PKK set up illegal schools teaching Kurdish, ignoring regulations imposed by the Ministry of National Education in an attempt to announce their autonomy.

The government, as part of its efforts to restore the oft-neglected rights of the Kurdish community, had introduced selective Kurdish courses at schools three years ago and greenlit private schools to teach a Kurdish curriculum. Several private-run schools were already opened but most of them were closed down due to a lack of interest.

Education in Kurdish, the fourth most spoken language in the Middle East, has long been a main demand of Kurds who faced oppressive state policies that refused to recognize the existence of an ethnic Kurdish identity.

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