The Impact of Lack of Mother Tongue - Based Schooling on Kurds in Turkey

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Davina Durgana


This paper examines the impacts of lack of mother tongue-based schooling on Kurds in Turkey. In this policy paper I particularly looked into the education policy in Turkey as it is stipulated in Turkish constitution which excludes Kurds from education opportunities in mother tongue Kurdish in public schools. In this context I examined international documents particularly related to the United Nations (UN) and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) regarding fundamental human rights, educational and linguistic rights. I found out that Turkish constitution which has banned Kurdish as a language of instruction in public schools is in stark opposition with international documents regarding human rights which involve linguistic and educational rights. The paper also looks into the impact of lack of mother tongue-based schooling on Kurdish children’s success rates and employment opportunities. The findings suggest that Kurdish children’s success rates in national exams are much lower than the Turkish students. A comparison of employment in Kurdish cities with the Turkish ones also suggests that the unemployment rate is much higher in Kurdish cities -a factor attributable to lack of education in mother tongue Kurdish. The paper further reveals that Kurdish was banned with the establishment of Turkish Republic in 1920s and particularly in Turkish constitution of 1982 this ban is stipulated in article 3 and 42. Therefore the paper draws attention to the fact that the extreme Turkish nationalism, the denial of fundamental Kurdish rights and the exclusionary character of Turkish Republic constitute a great threat to Sustainable Development and security in Turkey.

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