Garo Paylan Urges Prosecutors to Act Against Hate Speech in Turkey
ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News)—Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul deputy Garo Paylan has urged prosecutors in Turkey to take action against recent incidences of hate speech that have gone unpunished, the Hurriyet Daily News reports.
“Each hate speech crime going unpunished pushes people targeted by hate speech to the ‘dove’s skittishness’ and lays the ground for hate crimes,” Paylan said at a press conference at the Turkish parliament.
“Dove’s skittishness” is a phrase coined by slain Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in his last article published in the bilingual Turkish-Armenian newspaper Dink founded, Agos, expressing his feelings of being terrorized just days before he was killed on January 19, 2007.
“The recent discourses aiming to create hatred and enmity against the Armenian community in Kars and Ankara and LGBTI individuals in Ankara constitute a clear and imminent threat against the right to life,” Paylan said, also referring to recent attacks against Korean tourists in Istanbul mistaken by Turkish ultranationalists for Chinese nationals.
“It is obvious that ‘poisoned’ phrases and discourses have prepared the ground for murders in Turkey’s recent history,” Paylan said, listing a number of incidents including the killing of Father Andrea Santoro in February 2006, who was murdered while he prayed in his church in the Black Sea city of Trabzon, as well as the killings at the Zirve Publishing House in Malatya in April 2007, where three missionaries were tied up and tortured before having their throats slit.
Paylan also referred to four recent incidents, including statements made by Tolga Adiguzel, the head of a local branch of the far-right “Idealist Hearths”, which has close links with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Adiguzel indicated that his group would “hunt for Armenians” in Kars after world-renowned pianist Tigran Hamasyan performed a concert at the nearby ruins of Ani, on the border with Armenia.
“What should we do now? Should we start a hunt for Armenians in the streets of Kars?” Adiguzel asked reporters on June 24, three days after the Hamasyan concert.
Paylan said he would file a complaint against Adiguzel while also calling on prosecutors to take action against other incidences of hate speech.
On July 2, Adana Mayor Huseyin Sozlu targeted three new Armenian members of parliament, who were elected on June 7, by referring to the late Turkish-Armenian brothel owner Matild Manukyan.
“Manukyan’s nephew living in Adana must be happy. The children of their three aunts have also entered parliament from the AKP [Justice and Development Party], the CHP [Republican People’s Party] and the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party].”
“No matter how proud they are now, it will never be enough,” Sozlu wrote on his Twitter account.
Along with Paylan (HDP), two other Turkish citizens of Armenian origin were elected to parliament in the June 7 general elections: Markar Esayan (AKP) and Selina Dogan (CHP).