Turkish Parliament strips HDP lawmaker Zana’s status

Turkish Parliament strips HDP lawmaker Zana’s status

Turkish Parliament strips HDP lawmaker Zana’s status

The Turkish Parliament on Jan. 11 stripped a opposition People’s Democratic party (HDP) lawmaker of her status for a second time, this time due to her absence from its sessions.

Leyla Zana had spoken Kurdish while being sworn into parliament in November 2015, leading the speaker to rule her oath invalid.

Following that, she did not attend 212 parliament meetings between Oct. 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017.

“With the hope of an honorable and lasting peace,” Zana had said in Kurdish while taking the oath.

She had also finished her oath by changing its official wording from “Turkish people” to “people of Turkey.”

Speaking Kurdish was banned in Turkey after the 1980 military coup until 1991. Since then, some other restrictions have been eased.

Members of Zana’s party, the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), say there is no law stating that Kurdish cannot be used in an oath.

A majority vote in the parliament on Thursday ruled in favor of ejecting Zana from the legislature due to her continued absence.

She had won a seat in the November 2015 snap elections.

“The loss of Leyla Zana’s lawmaker status is void by our people,” the HDP said in a tweet following the decision.

“Leyla Zana’s [voice] is the sound of peace, the will of the people, our member of parliament,” it said.

In June 2015, the HDP had also won seats in parliament as a party for the first time, depriving the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of a majority. Zana then took her oath in Turkish.

HDP lawmaker sentenced with imprisonment

An HDP deputy was sentenced to prison on Jan. 11 on various terrorism-related charges, according to a judicial source.

Abdullah Zeydan was sentenced to just over eight years in prison by a court in the southeastern province of Gaziantep.

Zeydan was convicted of membership in an armed terrorist group and for spreading terrorist propaganda, said the source, who spoke on conditions of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.