Abstract

This article describes, compares, and analyzes two educational situations for Kurds from the point of view of linguistic human rights, using prodigious exemplification. In Turkey, Kurdish-medium schools are not allowed, and Kurdish children do not even have the right to study their mother tongue as a subject in school. In addition to physical genocide through low-intensity warfare, including unacceptable living conditions, Turkey continues to commit linguistic and cultural genocide (according to definitions of genocide in articles 2(b) and 2(e) in the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) in relation to the Kurdish nation/minority. Under the US-led occupation in Iraq, Kurdish children in (northern Iraqi) South Kurdistan are educated mainly through the medium of Kurdish and learn several foreign or second languages at school; minorities have their own schools in their own languages. We are especially interested in understanding how similar background motives on the part of Turkey's and Iraq's "partners" (mainly the United States) can result in such different educational outcomes. Thus we discuss some of the possible ethno-sociological, historical, economic, military, and political reasons for the differences and similarities, especially analyzing the seemingly contradictory US policy vis-à-vis the Kurds (including Kurdish language rights in education) in terms of three main causal factors: the US wish to secure oil, energy, and water deliveries in a new situation of uncertainties, through Turkey and from Iraqi Kurdistan; to secure support from Turkey in restructuring the Middle East; and to secure new arms deals.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1911-9933
Print ISSN
1911-0359
Pages
pp. 43-73
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-06
Open Access
No
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