Paylan Puts Forth Parliamentary Question about ‘Giaour’ Statement by Turkish Deputy PM

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ISTANBUL (Armenpress) — Member of Parliament Garo Paylan, who represents the HDP party, on December 6 submitted questions at parliament to Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus, who had made an inflammatory statement about “giaours” or infidels, on December 3.

Agos, the Armenian newspaper, had reported that the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister had said,  “For us, independence means to stand against the giaours and to be able to call them giaours.”

Paylan formally addressed three questions to Kurtulmus to express his anger with the statement.

First, he said, “According to Turkish Language Association (TDK), giaour means a nonbeliever, non-Muslim. According to linguist Sevan Nisanyan, it means ‘Zoroastrian, fire-worshiper, non-Muslim, heretic.’ Do you think that you insulted the Christians and non-Muslim peoples of Turkey by using the word of ‘giaour,’ which is used in a pejorative way in many Turkish idioms and proverbs and which people often use to insult or defame certain groups or individuals?”

Next, he asked, in light of hate speech being defined as “speaking in an insulting or threatening manner on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation,” did Kurtulmus think he was promoting hate speech?

Finally, he asked, since making such statements “often lead to hate crimes, do you think that your statement may cause hate crimes?”

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