December 9, 2016
Zarokistan children’s school in Amed (Diyarbakir), Turkey’s largest Kurdish majority city, has now been closed by the Turkish state. Zarokistan, whose name means “children’s place” in Kurdish, provided education in the Kurdish language. The forced closure of Zarokistan follows the state’s closure by emergency decree of Kurdish children’s TV channel Zarok (“Child”) TV along with many other TV channels and newspapers.
Following the failed coup attempt of July 15, which was quickly and unambiguously criticized by virtually all representatives of the Kurdish people in Turkey, the Turkish state used expanded powers to remove elected officials from office, dismiss civil servants, and close media outlets and other private organizations, often targeting people or groups representing or associated with the country’s Kurdish minority. The most recent actions against Zarokistan, following the closure of Zarok TV, are actions clearly aimed at preventing Kurdish children from learning their mother tongue, making it clear that the mere existence of the Kurdish language and Kurdish identity are still deemed a threat to the Turkish state, nearly 100 years after its founding and after decades of supposed democratization.