Kurdish party blasts Turkish Parliament draft to ban word 'Kurdistan'

“It is a national right and historical responsibility to engage in politics with the name of our homeland Kurdistan.”

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Plans by the ruling Turkish party and its far-right allies to ban the use of the word “Kurdistan” among others in the Parliament was “tragic,” said one of Turkey’s Kurdish parties on Sunday.

Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), a small faction with no parliamentary representation, called on the Kurdish people to claim the words “Kurd, Kurdish, and Kurdistan” against “this wave of anti-Kurdish sentiments” stirred by the government.

On Friday, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) submitted a draft resolution that, if passed, would bar lawmakers from uttering the word “Kurdistan.”

In a written statement, PAK’s leader Mustafa Ozcelik stated if the law regarding parliamentary procedure was passed, then President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would have to pay a fine.

Ozcelik reminded of Erdogan’s former use of the “K-word” on numerous occasions in the past.

Other words and phrases that could get an MP fined were: Kurdish geography, Kurdish region, Kurdistan provinces, Amed, genocide, massacre.

Ozcelik said his party, although legally registered at the Interior Ministry, has borne the brunt of some investigations and fines by authorities because of the word Kurdistan in its name.

He called on Turkish democrats and intelligentsia to oppose any bans or regulations on speech in solidarity with the Kurds.

The PAK leader added that “bowing” to such a ban would mean more violence and a deadlock preventing peace.

“It is a national right and historical responsibility to engage in politics with the name of our homeland Kurdistan,” Ozcelik stated.

“The Turkish state must wake up from its denial of the existence of Kurdistan, the will of the Kurdish people and its right to self-determination,” he continued.

A lawmaker from the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) told Kurdistan24 his party’s parliamentary group had not received a copy of the draft.

The HDP’s Adem Geveri who represents the Van Province said in a phone call that he and his colleagues were already under pressure from the Parliament’s speakership.

He explained the speakership was rejecting their written or spoken statements containing references to the Kurds and Kurdistan in the national assembly.

The HDP would share its view separately once they receive a version of the law, Geveri added.


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany