ANKARA (Combined Sources) — A rally was scheduled to take place on May 11 in Yerevan, in support of Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament, whose assault was captured on videotape last week as he was speaking in the Turkish parliament. (See related editorial on page 17.)
The rally was the raise awareness about his safety.
“Garo Paylan’s life is in danger. We want with this initiative to express our support to Armenian MP who endangering his life speaks about the Armenian Genocide and the protection of Armenians in Turkey. We are with Garo and will be consistent that his life will not be in danger. Therefore, we will apply to the UN Office in Armenia demanding them to alert Turkey to fulfill its obligations. After that we will send a letter to the UN Office in Armenia: we should remind the UN about its mission and enforce it make its member states to adopt and fulfill the mandatory obligations by the UN,” the organizing group’s post on facebook said.
Concern for his safety has also been raised in the US. The Armenian National Committee issued a call to action to raise awareness about his safety through the State Department, and Human Rights Watch, as well as by writing to the US Embassy in Turkey.
The US Embassy in Turkey responded to the letter by the Armenian National Committee of America Executive Director Aram Hamparian. The Embassy officer said that they are aware that Paylan was one of a number of parliamentarians injured after fighting broke out during a recent debate in Turkish Parliament.
“We share your concern about the need for all persons living in Turkey whatever their religious, ethnic, or national origin, to be able to voice their views freely without fear of threat and reprisal. Our annual Human Rights Report describes in great detail the United States government’s ongoing concerns about the patterns of discrimination, hate speech, attacks, and other issues faced by all of Turkey’s minorities. The United States government has consistently raised these concerns with the government of Turkey in both public and private channels, and we will continue to engage the government of Turkey to underscore the need to provide equal protection to any citizen facing specific threats, regardless of their ethnic and religious identity”, the response letter reads.