“What’s in a – Kurdish – name?”

One of the consequences of Kemal Attaturk’s reforms was that Kurdish people in Turkey were not able to speak their own language and consequently they were not able to carry own Kurdish names. Recently this changed. However, the Kurds still face problems with the registration of their names, as they are bound to the Turkish alphabet for the spelling of it. Contrary to the Kurdish alphabet, the Turkish alphabet does not contain the letters W, Q and X.

The Turkish authorities consequently refuse to register names with the above mentioned letters. In the case Kemal Taskin et autres c. la Turquie, the European Court of Human Rights had to answer the question whether this refusal consists a breach of article 8 of the convention. Moreover, the Court also had to deal with the question whether or not the refusal to register these names is discriminatory as Turkish people with a double nationality who are registered in a third country and who wish to register in Turkey can keep the spelling of their names including the letter W, Q or X.

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