Turkish lawmaker of Armenian descent from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Garo Paylan has said he will continue to fight for the democratization of Turkey and will never give up, according to Panarmenian.
Paylan has said on many occasions that only Turkey’s recognition of the Genocide can heal the wounds of the Armenian people. His latest remarks to The Turkish Minute came after Turkish far-right independent lawmaker Ümit Özdağ threatened him with another Genocide, tweeting that Paylan should have a “Talaat Pasha experience.”
“With his tweet, Ümit Özdağ admits the Armenian Genocide they denied for 106 years. We know very well that these genocidal crimes went unpunished and therefore are still happening. We Armenians have always lived under ‘Talaat Pasha oppression and fear’ in Turkey and have constantly witnessed the hate crimes that have been repeated,” said Paylan.
After Özdağ’s tweet, Turkey’s Human Rights Association and Paylan filed a complaint under the penal code articles of “incitement of enmity,” “insults and threats” and “incitement to commit a crime” against independent lawmaker Özdağ for his tweet amid a heated social media debate on the topic in the days after Biden recognized the Armenian Genocide.
Paylan said hate speech leads to hate crimes in Turkey and that he wants to expose this. “I filed a criminal complaint not because I had any hope from the politicized judiciary, but to make a note in history. I hope there will soon be changes in this country, and when that day comes, they will be held to account and answer for what they’ve done. That’s why I’m struggling today.”
Paylan, who is frequently the target of insults and threats, knows his struggle for the truth is very dangerous but emphasizes that he will not give up.
“We live in a climate of hate, and we are exposed to hate speech every day. This climate of hate and rhetoric causes hate crimes, but I still feel that I’m not alone. Millions of citizens who want Turkey to be a democratic country oppose the government and fight against racist Turkish policies. Regardless, I live with the awareness that this hate speech against me can lead to hate crimes, but this struggle never distracts me from my determination,” Paylan said.
Paylan thinks Armenians have been trying to continue living in Turkey since the Genocide but says they always remain silent in racist environments. “We experienced a long silence that lasted for three generations, and this silence was broken only after the 1990s, with the struggle for democratization and Hrant Dink’s efforts. After this silence, we, a small number of Armenians who spoke out, introduced the 1915 Armenian genocide to the majority of Turkish society, and even though they were reluctant to use the word ‘genocide,’ they acknowledged this great catastrophe. This is progress that cannot be underestimated.”
According to Paylan, the Armenian Genocide took place in Turkey, and justice should be achieved again in those lands. Therefore, the first step should be to acknowledge the pain of the Armenians.
Photo by Office of Garo Paylan/Genel Kurul Fotoğrafı