Turkey censors letter in Kurdish saying it is ‘unknown language’

Kurdish children celebrate 21 February International Mother Language Day with a sign saying, 'Without your mother tongue you will disappear.'

A letter written in Kurdish by a prisoner in Turkey’s southeastern Elazig prison has been censored by prison authorities for being in an “unknown language.”

The letter, written by political prisoner Murat Akkurt to his brother, who is being held in Bitlis prison, was censored and prevented from being sent by prison authorities for being in the Kurdish language, reported Dihaber.

The incident is the latest in a string of similar acts of censorship by the government. Signs in the Kurdish language were removed by state appointed trustees following the dismissal of Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) mayors following Turkey’s coup attempt.

The Kurdish language is also regularly marked with an ‘X’ as an unknown language when spoken in the Turkish Parliament.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was championed in its first years in government for lifting the ban and stigma on Kurdish, however a return to clashes following an end to the Kurdish question’s solution process in 2015 has meant a return to what critics call, “the state policy of denial”.

Several Kurdish language media outlets, including a children’s TV channel, as well as Kurdish language association Kurdi-Der, were shut down in a widespread crackdown recently.