Pinar Cetinkaya, 20, has been dismissed from her hostel at Adnan Menderes University for speaking in Kurdish

Published by Rudaw 14 May 2016

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish college student was kicked out of her hostel, lost her scholarship, and was questioned by the police on terrorism charges after being heard speaking in Kurdish on the phone.

Twenty-year old Pinar Cetinkaya, a student at Adnan Menderes University in the Turkish city of Aydin, was speaking on the phone in Kurdish with her parents, who are from Hakkari province.

Three of her roommates overheard and filed a complaint against Cetinkaya with the hostel managers, accusing her of terror propaganda.

“My parents don’t speak in Turkish, therefore I spoke with them in Kurdish,” Turkey’s Dogan Agency quoted Cetinkaya as saying.

Shortly after being dismissed from the hostel, Cetinkaya was arrested and questioned by Turkish police.

Three days later, she tried to return to the dormitory to collect her belongings but was not allowed to enter and was accused of wearing an explosives vest.

“How can we be sure that you are not a suicide bomber?” they asked her.

Cetinkaya was angry for her dismissal from her accommodation. “My roommates in the dormitory were looking at me like I was a terrorist because I had to speak with my family in Kurdish.”

“They did everything to me, there is nothing left to say,” she added.

Cetinkaya has also had her scholarship cut.

The Provincial Director of the dormitory has declined to comment on the matter, citing confidentiality.

Cetinkaya’s persecution for speaking in Kurdish comes in the same week President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed some universities in Turkey are hotbeds of terrorism.

“Some universities have become separatist terrorist organization camps,” Erdogan said when receiving an honourary doctorate from Kocaeli University on Friday. “Do not tolerate these organizations using force.”