The Turkish parliament overwhelmingly voted for Kurds to be allowed to used Kurdish to defend themselves in court. This was a move that had long been demanded by Kurds, who are a minority in Turkey. In the past, Kurds who could speak Turkish had to defend themselves in Turkish. Approximately 26 million people speak Kurdish in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Kurdish is an Indo-European language, that falls under the Western Iranian branch of languages. The Kurdish language was derived from the Median language, which is an ancient language. Kurdish was written using the Persian alphabet in the 7th century. Historically, Kurds have preferred to use Persian, Arabic and Persian alphabets when it came to writing. Currently, Kurdish is written using the Latin script in Turkey. In some parts of the former Soviet Union, Kurdish is written using Cyrillic alphabet. When Arabic script is used, Arabic loan words retain their original spelling, though the pronunciation of the words are quite different to how they would sound in Kurdish. Kurdish has a number of dialects that have been broadly divided into 3 main groups. The northern, southern and central Kurdistan dialects. The most widely spoken dialects are the Sorani and Kurmanji dialects. Almost all the people in the Kurdustan region can understand the different dialects. The Kurdistan Regional Government promotes the use of the 2 main dialects in the media and the education system.
There are various interesting facts about the Kurdish language. Kurdish is the fourth largest ethnic group in the Middle East, with 55 percent of Kurdish speakers living in Turkey. Majority of Kurds are Sunni Muslims who subscribe to the Shafi school of thought, while others are Shia Muslims. There are some Kurdish Jews who mainly live in Israel and Kurdistan. Kurdish is recognized as the official language spoken in Iraq. This is in combination with other languages, as most Kurdish speakers are multi-lingual. The Kurdish culture is an agglutination of different cultures from different groups that formed the Kurdish ethnic group.