Opposition deputy banned from Parliament after 'pumpkin' jibe about Turkish president
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
CHP Tunceli deputy Kamer Genç is known for his heated parliamentary rows with government figures. He is now banned from three legislative sessions for 'insulting President Abdullah Gül.' DHA photoRepublican People’s Party’s (CHP) Tunceli deputy Kamer Genç, who is known for his heated parliamentary rows with the government, has been banned for three legislative sessions for “insulting President Abdullah Gül” in a recent session.
Genç criticized Gül over the name of Istanbul’s third inter-continental bridge, “Yavuz Sultan Selim,” an Ottoman sultan historically known for slaughtering Alevis.
“Abdullah Gül says, ‘let’s name this bridge Yavuz Sultan Selim and let’s name some two others Pir Sultan Abdal and Hacı Bektaş [famous Alevi historical figures].’ What sort of remarks are these? Like a pumpkin,” Genç, who is also an Alevi, said June 3.
Genç was referring to a Turkish idiom “the pumpkin spoke,” which mocks someone who talked nonsense, according to the Turkish Language Institute (TDK) idioms dictionary.
Alevi nongovernmental organizations have repeatedly expressed their anger at the government’s decision to name the controversial third bridge after the Ottoman sultan, accusing officials of consciously attempting to insult Alevis.
The sultan, known as Selim the Grim in English, was the ninth Ottoman sultan and the first Ottoman caliph. He was famous for his conquests in the eastern world in Turkish history, but Alevis also say he murdered at least 40,000 of their co-religionists during his campaign against the Safavid Shah İsmail.
Gül has said Yavuz Sultan Selim should remain the name of the bridge, but that the names of prominent Alevi historic figures be given to other bridges.
Genç, who took the floor in Parliament to defend himself, said he did not consider Gül as his president. “He is the one acting as a notary for the AKP [Justice and Development Party]. He has no objectivity in any of his decisions. He is not defending the secular Turkish Republic; I do not have any respect for him,” Genç said.
CHP deputy parliamentary group chair Akif Hamzaçebi said Genç’s remarks were unfortunate, but added that his words were not insulting.