Iranian regims have banned Turkish-language articles in Shams-e Tabriz newspaper

The publication of articles in Turkish [Azerbaijani] in Shams-e Tabriz [Tabriz Sun] newspaper has been banned by the local office of the Ministry of [Culture] and Islamic Guidance. In this connection, Ali Hamid Imani, editor-in-chief, published an article in the 18th edition of Shams-e Tabriz.

Incidentally, we expected this. Because, in line with growing protests in the sphere of basic human rights in southern Azerbaijan and the rest of Iran, the ruling regime is increasing its pressure on newspapers.
As for newspapers published in southern Azerbaijan, there was a small number of articles in Azerbaijani Turkish in these bilingual local newspapers mainly about poems and bayaties [folks poetry]. The authors of these articles, who had not been educated in their native language, often failed to observe the rules of our literary language. But articles of the sort are of great importance against the background of the situation of the Turkish language in the Iranian press.It is strange that Iranian officials often took advantage of this situation. When representatives of he regime were asked why there was no Turkish press in southern Azerbaijan, they always pointed to these articles and newspapers as an example and found a way out of the situation.

Shams-e Tabriz was not a nationalist newspaper. For example, this newspaper has published a great number of absurd articles about our country. This manifested itself even more this summer, when our air space and maritime border were violated by Iranian planes and ships.

In his letter to the 120th edition of Shams-e Tabriz entitled "There is no need for permission to use local languages", Dr Huseyn Sadeq says that the decision to ban the use of Turkish in the newspaper was wrong. He writes: "The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran clearly indicates that there is no need for permission to use local languages in schools, universities and mass media. Even banning people from writing in Turkish is also against the law and runs counter to Article 15 of the Constitution. On the basis of this article, daily and weekly newspapers in local languages and dialects are being published in Neyshapur, Kerman, Yazd, Shiraz and Ahwaz. Even Jomhuri-ye Eslami newspaper published in Tehran sometimes puts out ar ticles in local languages and in other Turkish languages. "At the same time, there is a number of newspapers that have obtained permission for putting out articles in local languages. For example, I obtained permission for publishing a weekly entitled Sahand in Azerbaijani Turkish 11 years ago. At the same time, I also took advantage of a privilege of the sort given to Ettela'at newspaper published in Tehran. I did not use Persian in these . I should point out that there is no need for newspapers published in the Persian alphabet to obtain additional permission. Even under the cruel regime of the Shah, many works were published in Turkic, including `Hello Grandpa Heydar' by Shahriyar and `The word of my saz' [a musical instrument] by Sahand, which declared war on the Shah's regime.

"Since the revolution, more than 5,000 books have been published in Azerbaijani Turkish. I regret that the Tabriz office of the Ministry of [Culture] and Islamic Guidance is turning a blind eye to this. We want the ministry to respect Article 15 of the Constitution and create conditions for our newspapers to publish articles in Turkish in some of their pages."

The editor-in-chief of the newspaper touched on this subject in his article entitled "Azerbaijan in the grips of reason and love". A reader called R.A.M. from Tabriz writes in this connection: "I felt from your article that some people are trying to leave you alone on this regard. You have lost hope. But do not worry. Hundreds of people in this city see eye-to-eye with you. These people are not bootlickers. They are fighters. They are individually engaged in scientific, public, historical, literary and cultural spheres in every corner of the city. Be sure that you are not alone in this respect. Hundreds of people in this city will lay their head on the block for our land and nation."

Such pressure on southern Azerbaijani newspapers, which are facing a harsh financial plight, creates additional problems. The regime has lately published articles in southern Azerbaijani newspapers with pen names, distorting our history, literature and culture. In addition, it bans the publication of half-baked articles in Turkish. The Turkish language seems to be frightening the regime.