Conflict Over Language Rights: The case of Kurds and Circassians in Turkey

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Oct 7 18:09:32 UTC 2008

Conflict Over Language Rights: The case of Kurds and Circassians in Turkey

By Burcu Toksabay

Language policy is used as a tool for regulating the status of
languages and allocating benefits and resources in the society among
different language groups. Therefore, language policy has both an
instrumental and symbolic value for the ethnic groups and is a source
of conflict between language groups and the state in many countries.

The positions of language groups towards the language policy are
shaped by their perceptions towards language policy, and their
relations with the state. Therefore, different language groups tend to
perceive language policy in different ways and have differing demands.

This study aimed to analyze the perceptions and positions of two
language groups in Turkey, Kurds and Circassians, regarding language
rights. During the analysis, the differences between the perceptions
and positions of these groups were also investigated. The data for the
analysis was obtained out of the texts that are published by some
groups in these communities, and interviews with the representatives
of these groups.

Overall, language policy is percieved as a matter of recognition by
the Kurdish groups, while for the Circassians the primary problem is
to increase language use of the community and to develop the language.
Therefore, while Kurdish groups demand their language to be treated
equally in status with the Turkish language, the Circassian groups
demand support for the education and development of the language. In
order to accomodate the needs and interests of each particular
language group, language policies should take these differences into

Submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Social Sciences, SabancĂ›
University, Spring 2005, (c) Burcu Toksabay 2005

burcu_toksabay.pdf (Click to read more) 701.13 KB

N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to
its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner
or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who
disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal. (H. Schiffman, Moderator)

More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list