ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – The mention of the word “genocide” at the Turkish Parliament about the 1915 systematic extermination of some 1.5 million Armenians by Ottoman authorities led on Friday to the banning of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Garo Paylan.
Speaking during a session on a constitutional change bill to extend powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Paylan of Armenian descent drew parallels with the late Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II who dissolved the first Ottoman Parliament in 1878 as he went to war against Russia.
The Parliament was convened to vote on the 11th article of the proposed bill which gave authority to the President to dissolve the Parliament and call for new elections.
Paylan’s speech was televised on the Turkish Parliament’s TV network.
“Of the writers of the first Constitution, 69 were Muslims, 40 were Christians. Just like the Ottoman society. But today we are one in one thousand,” Paylan said regarding the changed religious demographics of Turkey since the late 19th century.
"We were once 40 percent [of the population]. Presumably, something happened to us. I call this genocide. The Armenian people know what happened to them,” Paylan continued.
Upon hearing the word “genocide,” Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Ahmet Aydin of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) cut Paylan’s speech and called on him to keep his “manners.”
“You cannot make statements hurtful to this nation. This platform of the nation cannot be used to hurt it. This is the Grand National Assembly of Turkey,” protested Aydin ending the session for an hour and a half.
Aydin said the word was an “insult” to the Turkish nation and republic.
AKP and its far-right opposition ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members pounded their desks to disrupt Paylan as they called on him to apologize for his remarks.
The Heads of Parliamentary groups AKP, MHP, and the main secularist opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) condemned Paylan.
Moreover, a majority of the MPs voted to ban him from entering the Parliament for three sessions and also remove his words from the parliamentary minutes.
A representative of Istanbul, Paylan was the first Armenian in decades to be elected to the Turkish Parliament in June and November 2015 elections from the HDP list.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany