Turkish government trustee erases Kurdish warnings on the roads

A Turkish Interior Ministry-appointed trustee has removed traffic signs written in the Kurdish language in the eastern province of Batman, Artı Gerçek reported on Friday. 

There were bilingual road markings reading “pedestrians first" - "önce yaya" in Turkish and "pêşî peya" in Kurdish - on nearly 50 pedestrian crossings before the trustee was appointed to the Batman municipality.

But the Kurdish signs have been removed, leaving signs only in Turkish.

Abdullah Keskin, the owner of Avesta Publications, shared the photos taken at the Acetler crossing on his Twitter account on Tuesday saying, "These photos were taken today at the Batman Acetler Crossing. As you can see," Pedestrian First " in Turkish is left but the one in Kurdish has been removed."

Former co-mayors Songül Korkmaz and Mehmet Demir, who were dismissed from office by the Interior Ministry and replaced by a government trustee, Hulusi Şahin, denounced the incident on their social media accounts, Bianet reported on Friday.

"Yet another enmity towards Kurdish by the trustee of Batman," Demir said adding, "The words 'Pêşî Peya' that we wrote on the road for the safety of people in Batman, have been erased by the trustee and was replaced with the one in Turkish."

Korkmaz also said that 90 percent of Batman's population speaks Kurdish and therefore they decided to install the road signs both in Turkish and in Kurdish.

“Multilingual municipality works are important to provide the safety of the population speaking different languages in Batman,” Bianet quoted Korkmaz as saying.

Şahin denied removing the Kurdish-language traffic signs in a statement, according to the report.

According to the Mezopotamya Agency, renewal works will be undertaken in 350 spots across the province until November.