Meral Danış Beştaş, a Kurdish party deputy, has criticized the exclusion of Kurdish languages from the newly opened İstanbul airport’s translation services for international passengers, which includes 36 languages and 80 dialects, the Gazete Duvar news website reported on Monday.
Beştaş, from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has submitted a parliamentary inquiry asking if the airport actually accepts Kurdish passengers from Turkey or elsewhere.
The translation services at the airport work when a passenger, using an electronic tablet with an embedded microphone, verbally reads a sentence. A person at the other end responds with the translation in languages including Mandarin, Arabic, Hebrew, Catalan and Urdu.
Reminding that some 20 million Kurds live in Turkey, Beştaş once again alleged that the Kurdish people have been facing discrimination in public services for years.
No Kurdish language is considered an official language in Turkey, and due to a decades-long separatist movement in the country’s Southeast, it has become a highly politicized issue.