Turkey bans “Kurdistan” name for newborn

Picture: Mazlum and Songul Erol with their daughter — Photo via DIHA.

Picture: Mazlum and Songul Erol with their daughter — Photo via DIHA.

A Kurdish couple have been denied the right to name their newborn daughter “Kurdistan. Mazlum and Songul Erol have faced intimidation and difficulty at the birth registration office, where they were approved for registering the name in Turkey.

Turkey’s highest court in 2013 permitted a Kurdish couple to name their daughter “Kurdistan”, a name that has been historically banned in the country. Apparently, the “lower” court deemed the name to be an “insult to society” at the time.

While the courts permit the name “Kurdistan” to be used, the birth registration office has denied this couple their right. The couple have vowed to keep the name, “We have named our daughter Kurdistan. Whether they will give identity card or not, she will remain Kurdistan. We will never change her name”.

Historically, Kurdish language was criminalised, and those who used Kurdish words were fined. Gradually, the Turkish state could not afford to continue criminalising Kurdish language, and eventually language rights were granted, including testimony in Kurdish language and political campaigns.

The first incentive among Kurds in these instances is usually to Blog, Tweet and Facebook about Human rights violations. Unfortunately, this does not reverse policies that systematically target Kurdish people. Increasingly, Kurds are in need of online activism that translates into real-life lobbying, campaigning, without which, many instances of discrimination will continue without accountability.

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