Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   16 July

Turkish parliament bans mentioning “genocide”

YEREVAN, JULY 28, ARMENPRESS. The Turkish parliament passed the bill to amend its rules of procedure. The new rule bans lawmakers from mentioning the Armenian Genocide from the floor, Turkish media reported.

The ruling AK party and the Nationalist Movement Party voted in favor of the bill, while the opposition voted against.

The bill was earlier passed by the parliament’s constitutional committee.

Ozgyur Ozel, a lawmaker of the Republican People’s Party, took the floor during earlier debates and as a sign of protest covered the podium with a black cloth.

The MP said the bill is unconstitutional. “With this bill you are taking away the freedom of speech of lawmakers. This will take the parliament 250 years back”, the MP said.

Another opposition lawmaker said the bill seeks to eliminate the opposition in the parliament, and create a unanimous parliament, therefore a unanimous society.

The bill was endorsed by the ruling AK party and National Movement party.

Under the law, lawmakers are banned from mentioning the Armenian Genocide in the parliament.

Lawmakers of the Democratic People’s Party said there is no sense in taking part in the debates and left the hall in sign of protest.

The bill defines to set punishment for lawmakers who break the rule by “insulting the history and common past of the Turkish people”.

“Insults” include using the term “Armenian Genocide” while speaking about the “events of 1915”.

The ban also includes terms like “Kurdistan”, “Kurdish regions”.

According to other provisions of the changes, lawmakers will have a maximum of five minutes to introduce proposals of their factions.  Lawmakers who fail to take an oath in the parliament won’t be entitled to use their rights.

Those Members of Parliament who breach the law will be subjected to a punishment, in the form of being temporarily removed from the legislative body, as well as a fine comprising 1/3rd of their salaries, which is more than 3 thousand USD.

The Republican People’s Party and the People’s Democratic Party opposed the bill.

Garo Paylan, the lawmaker from the People’s Democratic Party, who is of Armenian origin, called the bill “a nationalist authoritarian coalition proposal of the AK and NMP parties”.

 Turkish lawmaker of Armenian origin Selina Dogan from the opposition Republican People’s Party also opposed the bill, saying ““Certainly, nobody must insult the history and common past of the Turkish people. However, what will you say about the other peoples? For instance, can is it OK to insult the history of the Armenian people?”, she said.


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