28 May 2010
The European Union (EU) has an understanding of fostering multilingualism. EU institutions encourage EU citizens to speak as many languages as they can, as well as make significant contributions to the languages of minorities within the Union. The same stance is seen when we take the official languages of the EU into consideration: The languages of the member countries are also included in official languages of the EU. In this respect, 23 languages (German, English, French, Italian, Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Portuguese, Spanish, Slovak, Slovenian, Romanian, Polish, Irish, Maltese, Estonian, Lithuanian, Latvian, and Swedish) are accepted as official languages of the EU. In addition, Catalan, Galician and Basque are semi-official languages of the Union.
Some of these languages are spoken by only a few hundred thousand people. For example, Maltese is a micro-language spoken by only 300,000 people, yet it is one of the official languages of the ’enormous’ EU. Irish is known by just 300,000 people, but the number of people who really use this language daily is around 40,000. Only 1.1 million people speak Estonian etc.
To sum up, the EU gives significant importance to languages in Europe and accepts even the languages spoken by just a few hundred thousand people as official languages to be able to keep the diversity. Too much money, time and energy are consumed while translating all the legislation into these languages.
Within these circumstances, there is a big language disregarded by the EU: Turkish. Turkish is the official language of one of the EU members: the Republic of Cyprus. If you take a look at the constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, it is written that the official languages of the state are Greek and Turkish. Greek and Turkish are side by side both on Cypriot money and the stamps. Do not misunderstand; I am not referring to the state founded in the north. I mean the south! One of official languages of the EU member Cyprus (Greek Cypriot Side) is still Turkish.
Turkish language is not only one of the two official languages of Cyprus, but also millions of EU citizens’ mother tongue. Millions of Bulgarian Turks, hundred thousands of Greek West Thrace Turks and almost 5 million Turks dispersed over Western Europe speak mostly in Turkish in their daily lives. Today the number of EU citizens whose mother tongue is Turkish and who speak Turkish in daily life exceeds 3 million people. Turkish is the thirteenth most spoken language in the EU countries.
In short, Turkish is not a language to be overlooked. So why does the EU exclude Turkish from its official languages in spite of all these realities? Why does the EU, which accepts Northern Cyprus as an EU territory by violating its own laws, and made the Greek Cypriot side an EU member despite all the objections and the rule of law, not accept the official language of a full member state as an official language of the EU? Is Brussels allergic not only to the religion of the Turks, but also to the language of the Turks?
It is obvious that according to the EU laws Turkish has to be accepted as one of the official languages of the EU. This is not matter of negotiations. If the EU is a law-institution, the EU authorities have no right to neglect Turkish language. In 2004 the Muslim people of the island were kept outside of the EU, while the Christian Cypriots were accepted as EU citizens. The Brussels should not follow such a racist way in accepting the Turkish language.