Arabic signboards being removed in various Turkish provinces

Turkish authorities have ordered the removal of Arabic signboards in a number of provinces where a big number of Syrian refugees live on the grounds that they cause “visual pollution.”

Turkey today is home to 3 million refugees, mostly Syrian.

Arabic signboards have so far been removed in Gaziantep’s İslahiye district, Adana province and Hatay’s Kırıkhan district as well as in some neighborhoods in İstanbul. Turkish authorities say the move is aimed at protecting Turkish language.

Previously, the government’s appointed trustee-mayor of the Edremit district of Van province, who has replaced the democratically elected pro-Kurdish mayor, had removed all Armenian and Kurdish words from a signboard welcoming visitors to the town on late January. On the original signboard, which was located at the entrance of the town, people were greeted in four different languages, including Armenian, English and Kurdish beside of Turkish. However, the new signboard has only a “welcome” in Turkish.

Also, a court in Turkey’s  southern province of Mersin has banned pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) official song for referendum campaign, “Bejin Na‘’ (Say No), across the country with the allegation of “inciting hatred and hostility among the people,” on April 4. The HDP’s campaign song was composed by Kurdish singer Şeyda Perinçek and widely used by Kurdish politicians while campaigning to persuade people to vote “no” in a critical referendum on April 16 that will introduce an executive presidency in the country if approved (SCF with May 5, 2017

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