Turkey to Introduce Elective Kurdish Language Classes in Schools

Posted June 12th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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The Turkish government has announced plans to introduce Kurdish language classes at public schools as an elective course.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the move in parliament Tuesday as an “historic step,” as the teaching of Kurdish had been previously banned in schools.

Mr. Erdogan's government has been under pressure from the European Union to ease restrictions on the Kurdish language as part of Ankara's bid to joint the regional bloc.

Leaders from Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeast have called for greater regional autonomy and increased freedom to use their language in all aspects of public life.

Turkey has already allowed for Kurdish-language institutes and television broadcasts.

In the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, local road signs and all notices in municipal buildings appear in both Turkish and Kurdish.