Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Weird Quirks from the Turks

According to this “Oddly Enough” Reuters story,
     A Turkish court fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration, under a law banning characters not used in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners said on Tuesday.
The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira for holding up the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet, but are used in Kurdish.
Quick, Walid! Bring the eraser and whiteout!

Apparently, however, the law is not uniformly enforced:
     Many shops and companies in Turkey have names, signs and advertising using the letters Q, W and X which are not used in Turkish, in apparent violation of the 1928 law, but have not been prosecuted.
So if you’re Kurdish, you’d better watch your P’s W’s and Q’s.


El Jefe Maximo said...

Off topic, but the Turks banning the "Q's" and "W's" reminds me about an old story about the British Admiral Sir George Cockburn (briefly Napoleon I's jailer at St. Helena).

Anyway, Admiral Cockburn was also the burner of Washington D.C. On the way out of town, he stopped by the offices of the National Intelligencer, a newspaper which had printed some uncomplementary things about the Admiral -- and had his Royal Marine escort destroy all the "C's and "K"'s in the typeset "so that the rascals can have no further means of abusing my name."

al fin said...

This type of absurd law illustrates why Turkey is not ready to join the EU. Turkey is not ready to join the civilised world for that matter.

I have seen this "chicken or egg" question asked elsewhere: "are they unintelligent because they are muslim, or are they muslim because they are unintelligent?"

There are many fine muslims in the world, but they have perfected the art of invisibility.

American Crusader said...

Hey Baron...do you think Turkish Kurds will want the same autonomy that the Kurds in Iraq now enjoy? The Kurds are by far the largest minority in Turkey
(estimated between 7-12 million)and there has been an active separatist movement since at least 1984.

The last thing Turkey needs is for an uprising among the Kurds as they try for admission into the EU.

The Iraqi Kurds have by far supported American troops then either the Shi'ites or Sunnis...of course they have the most to gain. Also the US prevented Saddam Hussein from committing military operations in Kurdish areas after Desert Storm. From what I've read, the Kurds seem to that readily accept a secular government. I believe Iran also has a large Kurdish minority. That leads to many interesting possibilities.

American Crusader said...

a little sidebar for al fin....
A chicken and an egg checked into a motel and proceeded to have sex. After just a couple of minutes, the chicken sat up and lit a cigarette. The egg rolled over disappointedly and said...I guess that answers that question.

Adaneshju said...

al fin:

France currently has laws banning foreign (that is, non-French) words in advertisements and other official areas. There are also French laws that control how much music (for instance) can be played on the radio if it is not in French. France is practically EU ground zero, so are they absurd and unintelligent?

Poland just joined the EU. They've got language laws too (making signs with foreign words NOT accompanied by Polish illegal). absurd and unintelligent?

Romania, a candidate country for the EU has similar laws. Absurd and unintelligent?

Adaneshju said...

american crusader:

Interesting question. Kurds make up a large portion of the population in Turkey as you say (roughly 20-25% of the overall pop.) as well as the millions in Iraq, Iran, and Syria too. They have been described as the largest ethnic group in the world without a country (debatable).

The 80's and 90's were rough in Turkey for the Turks and Kurds alike--tens of thousands dead. Thanks to the push to join the EU, many laws have been liberalized, that have legalized the Kurdish language (speaking it in public used to basically be illegal, and there were no radio or tv stations). This is changing. Whether this will mean the Kurds will give up or not, who knows? There hasn't been MUCH noise made by Kurds in Turkey lately, but too early to say if that will be the status quo.

The border between Kurdish Iraq and Kurdish Iran is basically non-existent (extremely porous), so it will be interesting to see what happens there as well.

Also don't forget Syria--there's been some violence from the Kurdish community there in the past year or so. Probably not large enough population numbers to create too big of a stir though

Baron Bodissey said...

American Crusader -- I just got on to answer your question, but I see that Adaneshju has already done a bang-up job. Those are the same answers (including Syria) I would have given, except that Adaneshju has actual numbers.

I think the Kurds are very motivated to make the new Iraq work, at least for now. Turkey is worried that their own Kurds will get uppity as a result.

ik said...

There was a Muslim King in India called Muhammad bin Tughluq who did lots of WACKY things - to this day in parts of South India - muslims are referred to as Tughlaks. People discuss "some weird behavior by some muslim" and then nod and wink and say "tughlaks" and move on.

1. This guy came up with these ideas
he undertook bizarre unachievable campaigns like trying to reverse Alexander’s march into India and capturing Afghanistan, Iran and Uzbekistan (what used to be called Khorasan). After spending vast sums of money the project was abandoned before it even got started.
2. Another folly, an expedition into China got bogged down in Kulu with resistance from Hindus. Only ten out of a staggering force of sixty thousand horsemen returned to Delhi following this fiasco.
3. One fine day he got a "islamic swing" and ordered his capital moved to Daulatabad in the South, fourteen hundred kilometers from Delhi! People were evicted from their homes in Delhi and if they refused to go they were immediately put to death. Cripples were tied to the catapult and slung towards Daulatabad. A blind man was tied to a horse and dragged all the way and only one of his legs reached the final destination in Daulatabad. A huge number of citizens died on the way and then he abandoned this idea
4. He suddenyl replaced Gold and Silver coins with Copper coins - It was easy to forge and the currency collapsed.