Teacher fined in Turkey for teaching Kurdish, Arabic words

May 4, 2022
Kurdish and Arabic words
The teacher was fined for teaching students Kurdish and Arabic words. Image: Susan Price/Green Left

Hüdai Morsümbül, a teacher in Turkey’s southern province of Mersin, was issued a fine for communicating in Kurdish and Arabic with his students and for teaching them Kurdish and Arabic words.

An official letter sent to Morsümbül said that he taught, in violation of the frame of the Turkish course, Kurdish and Arabic words to students, and had them write words in Kurdish and Arabic, despite past complaints and warnings.

“It was decided that you are to be fined an equivalent of one-thirtieth of your salary,” the letter said.

Morsümbül, a Turkish teacher for 23 years, has been among the organisers of campaigns to promote elective Kurdish lessons since 2019, trying to overcome the obstacles that discourage Kurdish students and their families not to choose Kurdish as an elective course.

Kurdish became a part of the national education program in Turkey in 2012, only as an elective course to be taught in secondary schools starting at 5th grade, two hours a week in some and merely one hour a week in others.

However in 2021, only three new Kurdish teachers were appointed among the 20,000 new teachers appointed by the Turkish ministry of education.

After he received the letter notifying him of the fine, Morsümbül wrote on Twitter:

“The student does not speak Turkish. I asked the student’s name: ‘Îsmek?’ I asked how the student felt: ‘Keyfek?’ I taught them their home address. Is this a crime?”

[Abridged from Medya News.]

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