ISTANBUL: Religious Affairs doesn’t greet in Kurdish, Armenian or He

Today’s Zaman, Turkey
July 22 2012

Religious Affairs doesn’t greet in Kurdish, Armenian or Hebrew

22 July 2012 / TODAY’S ZAMAN, Ä°STANBUL

The Religious Affairs Directorate has been the subject of severe
criticism for leaving out the words for hello in Armenian, Kurdish and
Hebrew in its monthly publication, which lists the word hello in 44
languages from Latin to Basque.

In a written statement about the issue, the Religious Affairs
Directorate said it would never exclude any dialect or language, as
this would be `a violation of God’s law.’ It added, `Further more, in
all of the languages and dialects spoken in this country, selam is
selam and merhaba is merhaba,’ using the two most commonly used
greeting words in Turkish. The Taraf daily was one of the loudest
critics. In its Saturday edition, the daily ran a story reading
`Religious Affairs, keep quiet: Sılav, parev and shalom.’

This statement is a U-turn from an earlier statement issued by the
directorate on Friday that recognized the exclusion of the Kurdish,
Armenian and Hebrew words for hello as a deficiency in the
publication.

An academic statement on the issue was made from Kadri Yıldırım,
deputy president of Artuklu University, which teaches Kurdish in its
living languages department. Yıldırım said, the word selam is of
Arabic origin and is selam in Turkish, but in Kurdish, it is `sılav.’

Yıldırım also noted that Kurdish textbooks used at Artuklu University
also teach the word sılav.

In its Sunday issue, Taraf asserted that the word parev in Armenian
and shalom in Hebrew mean hello, saying no expert opinion was needed
to confirm those usages and challenged any doubters to check a
dictionary.

`If the Religious Affairs Directorate really wanted to they could
perhaps find inspiration in the Å?alom newspaper, published by Turkey’s
Jewish Community.’

In a separate but related incident, the Diyarbakır Administrative
Court on Saturday ruled that local governments should `change’ the
Kurdish names given to 19 parks and one cultural center in the
Diyarbakır province.

The Youth and Culture Center in Diyarbakır, the biggest facility in
the city that provides opportunities for the city’s youth from
computers, movies, music and theater or singing classes as well as
seminars and a library, is named after famous Kurdish poet Cegerxwîn.
However, the district governor’s office challenged the name in the
administrative court.

The cultural center was named by the city council.

The other parks whose names should be changed according to the
Diyarbakır 1st Administrative Court are the ZembilfroÅ? Park, 33 KurÅ?un
Parkı (although it is a Turkish name, it commemorates the massacre of
33 Kurds by a Turkish general), the DerwiÅ?î Ewdî Park, Nefel Park,
DaraÅ?în Park, Bêzar Park, Ciwan Park, Sosin Park, Jiyanan Azad Park,
AÅ?îti Park, Yek Gûlan Park, Beybun Park, Å?ilan Park, RoÅ?na Park,
Rojbîn Park, Rojda Park, Berfin Park, Gülistan Park and RoÅ?an Parks.

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