In an electronic vote, the majority supported the banishment and a fine for the MP whose party faces an ongoing massive crackdown that has seen HDP Co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, nine lawmakers, 80 mayors, and thousands of members imprisoned.
In his defense, Baydemir said the Parliament could even oust him from his seat, as already done to five other HDP lawmakers, but could not hide what he called “the truth that shall prevail.”
He also reminded, to no avail, that the Turkish Republic’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, and current President Erdogan, too, have said Kurdistan on multiple occasions.
“Yes, I am Kurdish.
I am a child of the Kurdish people and from Kurdistan.
I cannot deny that; I have never disowned it.
May God never allow me to do such a thing,” he said.
Other HDP members present at the session left the assembly along with him in protest of the decision, making victory signs.
In Turkey, saying Kurdistan remains a highly contentious and sensitive issue decades after Ataturk’s administration banned the word following a 1925 rebellion led by Kurdish leader Sheikh Said.
Earlier this year, a Turkish court in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir dissolved a businessmen’s fraternity for having the word “Kurdistan” in its name and sentenced its chairperson to 10 months in prison.
In October, an HDP lawmaker revealed that the Parliament’s stenographers were transcribing Kurdistan in lower case, in violation of the Turkish language orthography rules that require the capitalization of the first letter of all proper nouns.
Despite maintaining diplomatic ties with the Kurdistan Region, the Ankara government refuses to address the autonomous entity, whose status the Iraqi Constitution enshrines, with its name.
Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, their offices, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as the government-run Anadolu Agency and state TV TRT, euphemistically refer to the Kurdistan Region with acronyms that correspond to “the Kurdish Regional Administration of Iraq” or “the local administration in northern Iraq.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
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