20 fined in Turkey for using wrong letters

A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish New year celebration, under a law that bans use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners told.

The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people $75.53 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.

Under pressure from the European Union, Turkey has improved language and human rights for its Kurdish minority, but the EU says implementation has been patchy and loopholes remain.

The 1928 Law on the Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters changed the Turkish alphabet from the Arabic script to a modified Latin script and required all signs, advertising, newspapers and official documents to only use Turkish letters.

More than 30,000 people have been killed, most of them Kurds, since the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels began an armed campaign for Kurdish self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast of Turkey, Reuters reports.


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