Garo Paylan

Paylan: ‘It’s Not Me Who Has Changed; It Is Turkey’s Politics That Have Changed’

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By Miran Manukyan

ISTANBUL (Agos) — Garo Paylan, member of parliament representing the HDP party, on April 22, asked for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. He asked that those responsible be identified and that their names be removed from public spaces and that those space instead be given the the names of public officials who stood against the Genocide. He submitted a bill to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey with the aim of granting citizenship of the Republic of Turkey to his family members. After Paylan submitted his proposal, statements targeting Paylan came from the major parties there, including IYI, AKP and MHP. Saying that he has made this offer every year for the last seven years, Paylan says, “I say let’s move this issue to Turkey where it belongs, but even talking about it has become a criminal case.”

After the developments, Paylan said: “I became a member of parliament in 2015, and before I became a member of parliament, I was fighting for justice regarding the Armenian Genocide. There was no problem in my use of the phrase “genocide”. After I became a deputy, I gave research proposals and law proposals to the parliament every 24 April for 7 years. This year I am facing an organized racist attack. For 7 years, everyone read the rationale for my research proposal, and I said, ‘Let’s name this issue, identify the perpetrators of this issue, cool the hearts of the Armenian people who have been waiting for justice for 107 years, and cheer their souls’. This means: let’s talk about this issue in the Turkish Grand National Assembly. That’s what the deputies are for, they are there to bring the problems of the society to the attention of the society. They present proposals for laws, and these proposals are discussed in commissions and general assemblies, where various deputies make proposals. But even the proposal of this issue has unfortunately become a criminal case at the moment.”

“In the bill, I called ‘This issue was discussed in the American, British and Argentine Parliaments, it was accepted as the Armenian Genocide, but the wound of the Armenian people did not heal, the only parliament that can heal this wound and provide justice is the Turkish Grand National Assembly’. I say, ‘Let’s move this issue to Turkey where it belongs, let’s talk and provide justice’, but unfortunately, even the proposal to talk about this issue has been turned into a criminal case, unfortunately, the government and the opposition have started to do it in an organized way.

“This is a loss for Turkey. It is not me that has changed, it is Turkey’s politics that has changed. We were already condemned to silence for 80 years after the Armenian Genocide. Later this silence was broken by Hrant Dink. He started to talk about the great disaster that befell the Armenian people, then a space was opened in politics and we talked about this issue. Now they are saying, ‘The section that can be spoken is closed, we have closed it. You will be silent, you will not speak.’ Unless you speak, the issues will not be resolved, justice will not be provided, and this issue will continue to be the subject of other countries.

Paylan said he has received threats.

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“Right now I am facing a major attack, I am receiving threats. But I will not stop fighting for justice. Turkey is being dragged into a great darkness, this is the fact that every crime that is dark, unspoken and not confronted will be repeated. Racist parties say, ‘We did this, we will do it again’ “The perpetrators of the genocide approve of what people like Talat Pasha did. This means that the crime will be repeated and will continue. It is a great danger and threat to my country.”
After the developments, the campaigns supporting Garo Paylan also made their voices heard.

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