The Past and The Present of Book Publishing in Kurdish Language in Turkey
Nowadays, the Kurds live in the territories of the states of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Armenia and Lebanon. In most of these countries the use of the Kurdish language has been banned in one way or another and the Kurds have fought for the right to write and publish books and periodicals in their mother tongue for a long time. In this research I will try to describe the condition of Kurdish book publishing in Turkey and Syria. It would be useful to remind the reader of the following facts in connection to the research:
The Kurdish language has different dialects and is written in three different alphabets: the Arabic, the Latin and the Cyrillic. In Turkey the Arabic alphabet was used until 1928 and then replaced with the Latin. The Kurdish dialects Kurmanci and Kırmancki (Kırdki, Zazaki, Dımılki) are spoken in Turkey, and books are published in them. Kurmanci is the only dialect spoken In Syria. The Arabic alphabet is the official one in Syria and writing and publishing books in Kurdish is not allowed there. Ignoring the ban, Kurdish writers who write in Kurdish use the Latin alphabet like the Kurds of Turkey, not the Arabic one.
The word Kurdistan which means “country of the Kurds” has been in use for nearly 900 years. Kurdistan is now divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. The Kurds call these parts Northern Kurdistan, Eastern Kurdistan, Southern Kurdistan and Western Kurdistan. Northern Kurdistan will mean in this research the eastern and south-eastern regions of Anatolia, and Western Kurdistan will mean the northern part of Syria, close to the border with Turkey. In this study the term Kurdish writer denotes a person who has published at least one book in Kurdish, and the term Kurdish publishing house denotes a company that has published at least one book in the Kurdish language.