Turkey’s Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into a recent decision of the municipal council of Tunceli in eastern Turkey to start calling the province by its original Kurdish name of “Dersim,” Turkish media reported on Friday.
By a majority vote on May 7, the Tunceli city council decided to use Dersim on its signs instead of the Turkish state-given name of Tunceli.
The decision was made under the administration of Tunceli’s new mayor, Fatih Mehmet Maçoğlu, from the Communist Party of Turkey, leading to an uproar from Turkish social media users and sharp criticism from nationalist circles in the country.
In a press release on its website, the municipality justified its use of the name Dersim for “preserving our city’s culture and history.” The municipal council’s decision was sent for approval to the Tunceli Governor’s Office, which applied to the Erzincan Administrative Court. The court granted a motion for a stay of execution.