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TURKEY

Human Rights Issues

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10.10.2006 - Source: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Non-recognized minority: Laz (at least 500,000 Laz in the country) ("A Minority Policy of Systematic Negation") [ID 18258]

"There are at least 500,000 Laz in Turkey. Most live in Northeast Turkey, in a strip of land along the shore of the Black Sea east of Trabzon. There are also Laz communities in northwestern Anatolia and in Istanbul and Ankara. Most Laz are Sunni Muslims and speak a language related to the South Causcasian languages of Georgian and Migrelian."

Document(s): Report
Press Release

10.10.2006 - Source: International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

Laz and language rights ("A Minority Policy of Systematic Negation") [ID 18450]

"The Laz are also suffering from Turkey’s policies of assimilation in terms of language restrictions. Whereas Turkey approved the broadcasting of programs in minority languages in 2002 – a move which resembled more a symbolic gesture toward the EU than a genuine reform in favor of its minorities – it only authorized the broadcasting of the programs in five minority languages: the two Kurdish dialects of Zaza and Kurmanci, Arabic, Bosnian, and Circassian. The Laz language was not authorized. Then, in 2004, the state sanctioned a daily program called “Our Cultural Richness” on TRT-INT, the national television, but still excluded the Laz language. This practice is in violation of Section III, article 39 of the Lausanne Treaty which “guarantees all citizens of Turkey the right to use any language in press and publications of any kind.”"

Document(s): Report
Press Release