ANKARA, Turkey, — CHP leader Deniz Baykal
responds to American actor and director Kevin
Costner’s support of the government’s Kurdish
opening. ‘Why are you interfering in Turkey’s
domestic affairs? Do your job as actor,’ says Baykal
The main opposition leader has blasted famous
Hollywood actor Kevin Costner’s open support to the
government-sponsored Kurdish initiative over the
weekend, labelling it as interference in the
country’s domestic politics.
“Why are you interfering in Turkey’s domestic
affairs? Do your own job as an actor. Who are you,
my brother? What do you know and speak?” said Deniz
Baykal of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP.
Baykal criticized the government for seeking remedy
from Hollywood actors.
Hollywood star Kevin Costner, voiced support for the
government’s Kurdish move
Turkey's opposition leader CHP leader Deniz Baykal
“The prime minister is
hiding the truths from the public regarding the
opening. He has a project on his mind and plans to
make it accepted slowly in the face of possible
reactions from the nation. Is it the prime
minister’s job to deceive people?” asked Baykal.
“They [government officials] have found an actor
from Hollywood to make it amiable. I don’t know how
they convinced him [Costner] to come out and say ‘I
support the opening.’ Why are you interfering in
Turkey’s domestic affairs?” said the CHP leader,www.ekurd.netreferring
to the actor. “If you now put a map in front of him
[Costner], believe me he cannot spot where Şirnak
is,” he said.
U.S. actor and director Costner, who visited Turkey
in 2007, voiced support for the government’s Kurdish
move. Ruling Justice and Development Party’s, or AKP,
deputy chairperson Edibe Sözen said last week
Costner had been invited for the party’s general
congress on Oct. 3 but the actor was unable to
Debate over language
The CHP leader also criticized the government’s
approach toward language. He said a person could
come from a different origin, tribe, race or ethnic
identity but “all of us must establish a unity under
a common language.”
He continued: “What is the prime minister doing
today? He is initiating a conflict on the language
unity. The state’s duty is to teach the official
language to everyone and help it to develop and
strengthen. The state is not in a position to accept
another language and present it as a rival to the
official language. Turkey’s official language is
Turkish and it will remain so.”
‘Aim is to split nation,’ says MHP
Opposition Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP,
leader Devlet Bahçeli, in a message issued on
Language Day over the weekend, said those who
support a second language aimed at splitting up the
nation. He argued that beginning to use other
languages than Turkish would speed up the process of
weakening the Turkish language.
“It should not be ignored that the equal use and
spread of a different language besides Turkish in
the public domain could lead to the formation of a
new nation out of the blessed presence of the
Turkish nation, spoiling the thousand-year nation
truth,” the MHP leader said.
In the eastern Kurdish province of Van, Industry and
Trade Minister Nihat Ergün commented on the
government’s “democratic opening” commission. He
said: “When you use the name ‘Suzan’ it doesn’t
split the nation. Will the name ‘Zozan’ split it?”
Explaining the government’s move to businessmen and
representatives of non-governmental organizations,
the minister said there was a state that understands
of a state that doesn’t understand its own citizen.
“That’s the case and that’s the process,” he said.
“Why do you ban people from using their local names?
Why can’t you use the name ‘Zozan’? We would get
divided. Why did we ban the name Berivan for a girl?
The birth registry clerk didn’t write it because it
was banned,” said Ergün.
The minister said there were differences in Turkey
and asked to “let the people exist with their own
Copyright, respective author or news agency,
Kurds are not recognized as an official minority in
Turkey and are denied rights granted to other
minority groups. Under EU pressure, Turkey recently
granted Kurds limited rights for broadcasts and
education in the Kurdish language, but critics say
the measures do not go far enough.
The use of the term "Kurdistan" is vigorously
rejected due to its alleged political implications
by the Republic of Turkey, which does not recognize
the existence of a "Turkish Kurdistan" Southeast
Others estimate over 40 million Kurds live in Big
Kurdistan (Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Iran, Armenia),
which covers an area as big as France, about half of
all Kurds which estimate to 25 million live in
Turkey. A large
Turkey's Kurdish community openly sympathise with
the Kurdish PKK for a Kurdish homeland in the
country's mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey.
Before August 2002, the Turkish government placed
severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish language,
prohibiting the language in education and broadcast
media. The Kurdish alphabet is still not recognized
in Turkey, and use of the Kurdish letters X, W, Q
which do not exist in the Turkish alphabet has led
to judicial persecution in 2000 and 2003
The Kurdish flag flown officially in Iraqi Kurdistan
but unofficially flown by Kurds in Armenia. The flag
is banned in Iran, Syria, and Turkey where flying it
is a criminal offence"
North Kurdistan (