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Language, Technology, and the Decentralization of the State: Comparative Analysis of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq
Unformatted Document Text:  12 foundations should be laid by Kurdish people. But in addition to these foundations, the Kurdish intellectuals should also lay the foundation for language technology which is a catalisor in the process of linguistic unity of the Kurds. (Dorruei and Fatah 1998) In the case of the Kurds, there is a distinct power base developing outside of the Middle East where Kurdish interests are represented and supported by external states. In some ways this movement is new, in the new technologies that they use and in the coalitions that are being made for the particular purposes of lobbying for language rights. 31 In some ways the externality of Kurdish aspirations is a continuation of the long-time struggle for territorial control which has been going on since they were denied statehood in the early 20th century. The following section examines the development of language policies in Iran, Iraq, and Turkey. The purpose of this section is provide some background on state-specific language policies and the relative success of language minorities in their efforts to secure language freedoms. Iran Language policies in the Islamic Republic are highly centralized and monist. While minority language rights are recognized in the constitution other laws ban the use of any language other than Persian as a medium of education. As a result, many children who speak a minority language struggle in school. Some scholars have noted the difficulties that these children experience in school compared to Persian-speaking children and scholarly debates on the importance of bilingual education have sprung up around the country (Hameedy 2004). However, Iran is the least likely of the three countries under discussion in this paper to implement language policy reforms. The high number of large minority language groups and the long-run historical conflicts between these groups and the dominant Persian-speaking group coupled with state fears that minority language groups are being funded and armed by foreign countries and neighbors creates an environment of extreme distrust. In addition, disinformation facilitated by decentralizing technologies is running rampant throughout the country. 32 One example of this phenomenon occurred between a minority Arabic 31 One of the most important of these is Mercator, a network of three research and outreach centers which focus on education (the Netherlands), legislation (Spain), and media (UK). This organization makes information on “minoritized languages” in Europe. Since Turkey has been petitioning for membership in the EU, information is available for the Kurds. In particular, Mercator provides information on language-related legislation, making it possible for activists to find references and follow the current status of language rights in the EU (Mercator 2006). 32 Meaning that it is difficult to ascertain who is telling the truth on important issues because minority language groups make accusations and government officials claim that those accusations are false and spread alternate

Authors: Gannon-Kurowski, Solveig.
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foundations should be laid by Kurdish people. But in addition to these foundations, the
Kurdish intellectuals should also lay the foundation for language technology which is a
catalisor in the process of linguistic unity of the Kurds. (Dorruei and Fatah 1998)
In the case of the Kurds, there is a distinct power base developing outside of the Middle East
where Kurdish interests are represented and supported by external states. In some ways this
movement is new, in the new technologies that they use and in the coalitions that are being made
for the particular purposes of lobbying for language rights.
31
In some ways the externality of
Kurdish aspirations is a continuation of the long-time struggle for territorial control which has
been going on since they were denied statehood in the early 20th century.
The following section examines the development of language policies in Iran, Iraq, and
Turkey. The purpose of this section is provide some background on state-specific language
policies and the relative success of language minorities in their efforts to secure language
freedoms.

Iran
Language policies in the Islamic Republic are highly centralized and monist. While minority
language rights are recognized in the constitution other laws ban the use of any language other
than Persian as a medium of education. As a result, many children who speak a minority
language struggle in school. Some scholars have noted the difficulties that these children
experience in school compared to Persian-speaking children and scholarly debates on the
importance of bilingual education have sprung up around the country (Hameedy 2004).
However, Iran is the least likely of the three countries under discussion in this paper to
implement language policy reforms. The high number of large minority language groups and the
long-run historical conflicts between these groups and the dominant Persian-speaking group
coupled with state fears that minority language groups are being funded and armed by foreign
countries and neighbors creates an environment of extreme distrust.
In addition, disinformation facilitated by decentralizing technologies is running rampant
throughout the country.
32
One example of this phenomenon occurred between a minority Arabic
31
One of the most important of these is Mercator, a network of three research and outreach centers which focus on
education (the Netherlands), legislation (Spain), and media (UK). This organization makes information on
“minoritized languages” in Europe. Since Turkey has been petitioning for membership in the EU, information is
available for the Kurds. In particular, Mercator provides information on language-related legislation, making it
possible for activists to find references and follow the current status of language rights in the EU (Mercator 2006).
32
Meaning that it is difficult to ascertain who is telling the truth on important issues because minority language
groups make accusations and government officials claim that those accusations are false and spread alternate


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