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Deputies to face fine for use of word ‘Kurdistan’ in Parliament

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Members of the Turkish Parliament will have to pay fines if they use the word “Kurdistan” in Parliament, according to proposed changes to the parliamentary bylaws.

The draft version of the bylaws, agreed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), seeks to impose fines on deputies who use words such as “Kurdistan” and “capital of Kurdistan, Amed” in Parliament’s general assembly.

Amed is the Kurdish name for the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

The draft version of the parliamentary bylaws also seeks to prevent members of Parliament who did not take the parliamentary oath or who avoided taking the oath from benefiting from the rights afforded to members of Parliament.

If the proposed amendments go into effect, Leyla Zana, a deputy who was elected to Parliament from the ranks of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the general elections held on Nov. 1, 2015, may lose her parliamentary status.

Zana took the parliamentary oath after her election to Parliament, but the oath she took was declared invalid because she began the oath with the Kurdish words “Biji Aşti,” which mean “May peace live long.” Zana also changed the phrase “great Turkish nation”  to “great nation of Turkey” at the end of the oath.

The HDP deputy refused to take the parliamentary oath again.

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