ANKARA—As part of a package of measures aimed to change internal procedural rules of the Turkish parliament, the legislature’s constitutional committee on Thursday approved a provision banning the use of the word “Armenian Genocide” from being used in legislative body. Also banned are the terms “Kurdistan,” and “Kurdish regions.”
The bill, initiated by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), stipulates a punishment for those lawmakers who break the rule by “insulting the history and common past of the Turkish people” that is using the term “Armenian Genocide” while speaking about the “events of 1915.”
Members of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) walked out of parliament in protest.
Garo Paylan, a member of the Turkish Parliament representing the HDP called the bill “a nationalist authoritarian coalition proposal of the AK and NMP parties.” The opposition Republican People’s Party lawmaker of Armenian origin Selina Dogan also opposed to the bill, saying that nobody should insult Turkish people’s history but neither should other peoples’ history be insulted.
Dogan described the measure as an attempt to silence the opposition, sources from her press service told Tert.am.
Dogan accused the Turkish authorities of spreading hatred against ethnic and religious minorities. “If those speaking about Genocide are to incur fines for insulting Turkey’s historical past, then what should be the punishment for those who insult the Armenians from the same podium?” she asked the Majilis.
“While the Armenians pray for those regions’ prosperity, the Turks keep characterizing Armenians as fast-foes,” added Dogan.
“Nobody can and must insult the shared past of the peoples who ever resided or reside on Turkey’s territory. What about the other nations? Is insulting the Armenians’ historical past permitted? Can any parliament member use insulting remarks about the Jews? Do they enjoy freedom when it comes to the Greeks or Assyrians?” said Dogan.
Before enacting such a rule, however, the Turkish Parliament in January suspended Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish parliament representing the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) after he spoke about the Armenian Genocide during legislative debate for the now approved Turkish constitution.
In his speech, which angered the AKP members, Paylan said the from 1913 to 1923 the Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Jews registered in the country were “exiled from these lands or subjected to tortures as a result of large massacres and genocide.”
“At one time we comprised 40 percent of the population,” Paylan said at the time despite an uproar by AKP members. “Today we are one among 1000. Something happened to us, and I call it genocide whatever you call it. The Armenian people know very well what happened to them. I know very well what happened to my father, grandfather. Let’s face [history] together,” he added.