Who are the Kurdish Media readers?

Recently, the founder of Botan International, Murad Bayram published two articles in Botan Times. The first one is named Why don’t the Kurds who support the AK Party have a Kurdish newspaper? And the second deals with the results of the survey on Botan Times. I will try to deepen the discussion on this topic […]

Who are the Kurdish Media readers?
Who are the Kurdish Media readers?
  • Yayınlanma26 September 2023 11:34
  • Güncelleme26 September 2023 12:01

Recently, the founder of Botan International, Murad Bayram published two articles in Botan Times. The first one is named Why don’t the Kurds who support the AK Party have a Kurdish newspaper? And the second deals with the results of the survey on Botan Times. I will try to deepen the discussion on this topic in this article.

As a Kurdish Studies Center, we also consider the language situation in almost every study. But in a detailed study, I asked people who have children how much they know the language, how much they use it, and how much they teach their children. Since this is a broad field, some of them said they grew up with a language problem. After learning Turkish, they began to converse in Turkish in metropolitan areas. Due to their pronunciation, it was obvious that they weren’t Turks, which in turn made it difficult for them.

These people think that much time has passed and the language has become a rope between the state and Kurdish politics. These families said, “We don’t want to put our children in a language crisis, so we don’t teach them our mother tongue Kurmanji/Zazaki.” Language crisis. What do you mean by that? You say “the state criminalized and the party politicized” because anyone wasn’t left to their own devices. Besides language, other missions and tasks are assigned to language.

Before this interview, about ten years ago, I received a sign of this feeling from my mother. When I had a daughter and she began to speak, I said to my mother, “Speak Kurmanji to my daughter.” To this day, I don’t speak Turkish with my mother. She told me, “My son went to Diyarbakir, he went off the rails, and started speaking with party jargon.” I understood that the Kurdish language between me and my mother is normal, but the Kurdish language between me and my daughter is political. The families I interviewed ten years later remind me of my mother’s thoughts.

The first point: according to many Kurds, the language is like a ship and cannot reach the safe shore in the waves of politicization and criminalization. We can say that the majority of the supporters and followers of the AK party are in this situation, but this does not mean that the situation is differenet in HDP. Therefore, I do not think it is possible for Kurds who support the AK Party to have a Kurdish newspaper. In addition, there is Kurds on the side of the government, but not every Kurdish goverment supporter is free to open newspapers and TV. Even if you get the state in trouble, the state will get you too. Unfortunately, the time and place for this is not available today. We should consider this and act according to this truth.

In spite of this reality, there is hope that the most common desire and demand among Kurds today is language. According to studies, the demand for services in the Kurdish language is more than 80%. From the AK and Hudapar parties to the HDP, from the right to the left, from the religious to the secular, most Kurds want their language, Kurdish, when asked. But until the language is normalized or comes out of the shadows of politicization and criminalization, they will not move forward. Appeals and campaigns for the Kurdish language and Kurdish education should be well thought out and strategies developed so that in the future they do not say, “Ohh, our tweets were seen by millions, how did the number of Kurdish students go from 20,000″ to 21 thousand?”

The second point: is based on the results of the survey analyzing the readers of Botan Times. Of course, this survey does not represent the entire Kurdish media readers, but it says some important things about them and the readers of Botan Times.

According to the survey conducted for Botan Times, most of its readers are male, educated, patriotic, nationalist, democratic and socialist, and secular. We would prefer a question on parties in the poll so we may know what their percentages are. Nevertheless, these results are positive for me. From this survey, we can conclude that more language activists are interested in reading. The results of the survey show us that the percentage of conservatives is 2.5%. The educational level of Kurds in Turkey: at least 61% of Kurds have less than a high school diploma. 24 % of them have completed high school and 15 % have a level of education higher than high school. The percentage of those who have earned a master’s or doctoral degree is 1.5%. This means that the percentage of Kurds who have master’s or doctoral degrees remains low. It also means that Kurdish education is alive among this marginalized group. But what percentage of Kurds belong to this group?

The survey and interview convey several messages for Kurdish newspapers and media organizations. They should shape their news format and language according to the ideas of the high-literacy and inform the news more about the Kurdish agenda. How can you reach a person who works in the industry? How can you reach my mother? Do you have content for those who are interested in Islamic magazines, news and messages, for those who are interested in nature and space? These are important topics. There should be other topics as well, but again in Kurdish.

I don’t prefer to be misunderstood, but those who provide these services in Kurdish are providing valuable services. But when it comes to expanding the scope of the language and developing it in the Kurdish media, these issues should be discussed.

This news was translated by Yonca Sarsılmaz