Draft bill bars certain terms in parliament

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A draft bill proposed by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has recommended imposing sanctions on who use the terms “Armenian genocide” and “Kurdistan” in addresses to parliament’s General Assembly.

The change comes as part of an 18-article draft bill, expected to be discussed at parliament next week, overhauling the internal regulations of parliament. The AKP says the changes are necessary to overcome what it says are opposition parties’ efforts to slow down legislative works. The draft bill includes sanctions for lawmakers who use the expression “Armenian genocide” while describing the 1915 killings of Armenians.

Deputies who use the term will be banned from three General Assembly sessions and two thirds of their salary, which is around 16,000 Turkish Liras, will be cut.

This sanction will also be valid for deputies who describe Turkey’s southeastern region as “Kurdistan,” and provinces in this region as “Kurdish provinces.”

The articles have been included in the drafted internal regulation upon the request of the MHP, which has allied with the AKP government in recent months, including in the contentious April referendum on shifting Turkey to an executive presidential system.

The move comes following a number of angry exchanges over the years after some MPs, mainly from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), have used these terms in speeches at parliament.

Another important change, added to the draft upon Parliament Speaker İsmail Kahraman’s request, is the requirement that the parliament speaker must wear a frock coat with a white tie while chairing the General Assembly. The new bill stipulates the wearing of dark suits for both the speaker and deputies.

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