Major controversy in Turkish parliament

Pro-Kurdish MP becomes the 2nd person in history to speak Kurdish in Ankara plenum. (The Media Line)

February 25, 2009 15:10
1 minute read.
Major controversy in Turkish parliament

Ahmet Turk 248 88. (photo credit: AP [file])


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The leader of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) in the Turkish Parliament, Ahmet Turk, created a major controversy when, on Tuesday, he became only the second person in history to speak Kurdish in the Turkish parliament, causing the state-run TRT TV channel to stop its live feed of the session, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reported. Turk spoke about the situation for Kurds in Turkey regarding human rights and language. The last time that someone spoke Kurdish was 18 years ago when Leyla Zana, a parliamentarian from the now-banned Democracy Party, wanted to take the parliamentary oath in Kurdish. Zana was later sentenced to 10 years in prison as punishment. Turk is not likely to face a similar fate since sentencing him would mean that the ruling AK Party would lose the support of the DTP in the coming local elections, Evran Scevitch a spokesperson for the DTP told The Media Line. There are Kurdish TV channels opening but they are not for the Kurdish politicians and the Kurdish people; they are for the government, said Scevitch. During a recent rally in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the eastern Kurdish-dominated part of Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an amnesty for banned Kurdish singers and even spoke a few words in Kurdish. However, the fact that Erdogan spoke in Kurdish had no relevance for Turk's case, the speaker of the parliament, Köksal Toptan, was quoted by the paper as saying.

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