Garo Paylan

Erdogan Accuses Paylan of Treason for Genocide Comments

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ISTANBUL (Azatutyun) — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has strongly condemned Turkish-Armenian Member of Parliament Garo Paylan for demanding that Ankara officially recognize the 1915 Armenian genocide.

Erdogan said on April 25 that a corresponding parliamentary resolution drafted by Paylan, amounts to high treason.

The resolution not only calls for a formal recognition of the genocide but also says that the Turkish authorities must rename streets bearing the names of Ottoman masterminds of the genocide and offer Turkish citizenship to Armenian descendants of its survivors.

“We regard as clear treason the manifestation of such brazenness in this body symbolizing the expression of national will,” Erdogan said after chairing a cabinet meeting in Ankara on Monday.

Erdogan said that the Turkish authorities will take “appropriate actions” against Paylan. But he did not clarify whether the 49-year-old lawmaker representing the pro-Kurdish opposition party HDP will face criminal charges.

The authorities have for years tried to strip Paylan of his parliamentary immunity from prosecution.

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Speaking to the CNN-Turk TV channel, Paylan described the furious reaction to his initiative as unprecedented. He said that similar resolutions drafted by in the past did not cause such a government outcry.

“I have not changed, which means that Turkey has,” he said, adding that Erdogan’s government is no longer willing to tolerate public actions challenging the official Turkish version of the events of 1915.

The HDP is the only major Turkish party to have recognized the World War One-era mass killings of Armenians as genocide.

 

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