Turkey nationalist party criticises lawmakers speaking in Armenian, Laz

The lawmakers of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) reacted to opposition deputies who spoke in Armenian and Laz in the Turkish Parliament on Thursday to mark the international mother language day, Duvar news site reported

Garo Paylan, a deputy of the dominantly-Kurdish Democratic People’s Party (HDP), spoke in western Armenian, while Mehmet Bekaroğlu from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) gave a speech in Laz, the language of an ethnic group who are native to eastern Black Sea coast of northeastern Turkey.

The official records of the parliament said the deputies talked in “languages x [unknown languages].

“I spoke in Laz dear friends. I just paid my respects to endangered languages,” Bekaroğlu said in response to far-right deputies reactions.

“Is this place the United Nations?” asked MHP deputy Baki Şimşek, while Ümit Yılmaz form the same party asked the speaker of the parliament to intervene as he said the deputies might have been cursing them. 

According to 2019 "Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger” prepared by the UNESCO, 15 languages are endangered in Turkey, and three more are extinct

Abaza, Homshetsma, Laz, Pontus Greek, Romani, Suret (a language similar to Assyrian) and Western Armenian are listed as endangered languages by the organisation.