Turkey Fines People for Using Letters W and Q

People in Turkey have to mind their W’s and Q’s or face fines under a 1928 law that is suddenly being enforced.

20 fined for using letters W and Q Reuters)

A Turkish court has fined 20 people for using the letters Q and W on placards at a Kurdish new year celebration, under a law that bans use of characters not in the Turkish alphabet, rights campaigners said. The court in the southeastern city of Siirt fined each of the 20 people 100 new lira ($75.53) for holding up the placards, written in Kurdish, at the event last year. The letters Q and W do not exist in the Turkish alphabet.

Under pressure from the European Union, Turkey has improved language and human rights for its Kurdish minority, but the EU says implementation has been patchy and loopholes remain.

The 1928 Law on the Adoption and Application of Turkish Letters changed the Turkish alphabet from the Arabic script to a modified Latin script and required all signs, advertising, newspapers and official documents to only use Turkish letters.

Yet more evidence that Turkey is not quite ready for prime time, let alone membership in the European Union.

Of course, France bans the use of popular English words, so Turkey is not alone in making idiotic language laws.

Hat tip: Kathryn Jean Lopez

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Rodney Dill says:

    Obviously a slam on President Bush …

    … and John Cleese?

  2. DL says:

    WWWWHy did they QQQQQQQQQuit enforcing the Lawwwwwwwwwww?

  3. Kurt says:

    Maybe if you had an official language in this country, you would understand..Maybe in a few years, you will.

  4. you will get it says:

    wait for a couple of century. when you have people in your country who claims some part of your homeland (the land you have had for the last 1000 years!) you will get it.

  5. McGehee says:

    when you have people in your country who claims some part of your homeland

    You mean like the Aztlan reconquista advocates in southern California?

  6. you will get it says:

    At least Turkey doesn’t deport people just beacuse they belong to an ethnic group.

    Thunderbird – I guess you are a creative one. Whoever you are and wherever you are from Turks respect your country and your country’s name. By the way just find a Turk and try to offend him then you will see what a Turkey we are.