Teacher expelled for speaking Kurdish in Turkey

Hüdai Morsümbül, the 23-year-old teacher, was exiled from his school.
Teacher Hüdai Morsümbül (Photo: Hüdai Morsümbül)
Teacher Hüdai Morsümbül (Photo: Hüdai Morsümbül)

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A secondary school teacher at the Mersin Akdeniz District Ulubatlı Hasan Secondary School was expelled because he spoke Kurdish and Arabic with his students and encouraged them to register for Kurdish elective courses.

Hüdai Morsümbül, the 23-year-old teacher, was exiled from his school to the Yenitaşkent Yusuf Bayık Secondary School and investigated for supporting campaigns for elective courses in Kurdish in secondary schools affiliated with the Turkish Ministry of National Education (MEB).

"I emphasized that students and parents should be informed during the elective course registration process as per the regulations," he told Kurdistan 24, denying any wrongdoing. 

Morsümbül was also interviewed by the Kurdish channel of the Turkish state-run TRT on Kurdish lessons.

He was also investigated for teaching his students about the Islamic leader Saladin Ayubi after his students found out on the internet he was Kurdish. 

"I was accused of asking students to research Kurdish commanders in class books," he said.

The use of Kurdish in public was banned in Turkey in the 1990s, and Kurds weren't allowed to learn their mother tongue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has offered Kurdish as an elective subject since 2012.

However, since a peace process between the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Turkish government collapsed in July 2015, the Turkish government has once again limited Kurdish language signs in public, justifying it on the basis of banning "PKK propaganda."

As a result, there were restrictions for kindergartens, city theaters, and cultural clubs operating in the Kurdish language.

In January, Kurdish parties, artists, and institutions launched a campaign in Turkey for the elective courses under the name Kurdî Hilbijêre (select Kurdish).

Read More: Istanbul mayor supports Kurdish language campaign

Moreover, on Apr. 1, Kurdish students from the Karamanoğlu Mehmetbey in Karaman were attacked by a Turkish ultra-nationalist group for singing and dancing in Kurdish, the Independent reported.

The group also took their phones and made fake social posts on their social media accounts apologizing for singing and dancing in Kurdish.

Additional reporting by Cesim Ilhan