Not Diyarbakir Prison, but an elementary school: “Either speak Turkish or stay silent!”
SINAN AYGUL- When the slogans" Speak Turkish or stay silent” and “Turkish has no deficiencies, but do you?" which were written on the stairs of Mevlana Elementary School in the Bitlis province’s Guroymak district were shared on social media, the school was met with backlash. Tahsin Duzyol, the Bitlis Branch President of the Education and Science Laborers’ Union, stated that they believe it is a form of discrimination against other languages spoken in Turkey. Meanwhile, Nazmi Budak, the District Director of the Ministry of Education in Guroymak, mentioned that the words were taken from pre-made letter templates at the school, but were changed after the reactions.
EDUCATION AND SCIENCE LABORERS’ UNION: WRITINGS REMINISCENT OF DIYARBAKIR PRISON FROM SEPTEMBER 12 COUP ERA
After becoming aware of the issue through social media posts, Tahsin Duzyol emphasized that the writings such as "Speak Turkish or stay silent!,” "No to foreignized language, yes to foreign language!,” “Turkish has no deficiencies, but do you?" on the stairs of an elementary school in Guroymak were reminiscent of the September 12 coup era in Turkey. Duzyol stated, "We believe that this is discrimination against other languages spoken in Turkey, at the very least."
"WE UNDERSTAND THAT THE INCIDENT IS REAL FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHS"
Highlighting that the accuracy of the incident can be verified solely by looking at the photographic evidence, Duzyol stated, "The fact that such writings are still found in schools in a country where many ethnic groups live together shows that we have not moved an inch forward from the September 12th coup era mindset. As seen from the photos, it is a school staircase, and the incident is real. Regardless of where it happens, it is an incorrect practice. However, if we confirm that it occurred in the Guroymak district, we will follow up on the issue and take the necessary steps to initiate an investigation," he said.
MINISTRY OF EDUCATION DISTRICT DIRECTOR BUDAK: THERE WAS NO DISCRIMINATORY INTENT
Speaking to Arti Gercek about the issue, Nazmi Budak, the District Director of the Ministry of Education in Guroymak, stated that the incident was a result of using pre-made letter sets in the school, but they were changed when they received reactions, and there was no intention of discrimination. Budak said, "Initially, we thought that these images could not be true when they were shared on social media, but upon investigation, we determined that they were old images taken at Mevlana Elementary School in our Guroymak district. In my conversation with our school principal, they stated that they used ready-made letter sets to emphasize the importance of Turkish language, and to promote the use of Turkish words instead of foreign words that are commonly used. They also mentioned that the writings were removed shortly after the reactions. We trust our school administration in this matter. There is absolutely no hostility or discriminatory intention towards any other language. Our school administration has been sensitive to this issue, and there has been no problem related to this in our district so far."