ANKARA, Turkey (A.W.)—Armenian member of Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) was temporarily banned from parliamentary sessions after referring to the Armenian Genocide during deliberations on proposed changes to the country’s constitution on Jan. 13.
In his speech, Paylan said four communities—Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Jews—had been “lost” and “driven from these lands in large massacres (and) genocides,” according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
“We used to account for 40 percent [of the country’s population]. Now we are barely one out of a 1,000. It seems likely that something happened to us. I define this as a genocide,” Paylan said in his speech. According to some sources, the part of the speech was removed from the parliamentary minutes.
Shortly after his address, videos began circulating online, showed parliamentarians from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and other parties angrily interrupting Paylan’s speech. Below is a video of Paylan’s speech.
“Yesterday, when the constitutional changes were being discussed in parliament, I wanted them to draw lessons from the past. A monistic constitution was introduced a century ago. Diversities were ignored. We lost four nations during WWI. We lost Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and Jews. I mentioned that if we make same mistakes, we may live with same pains,” Paylan told Turkey-based news outlet Dihaber. “I know very well what happened to my people. I wanted to point out the mistakes which were made in the past,” Paylan added.
According to some sources, Paylan has been suspended from attending thee parliamentary sessions. “This hasn’t happened in the past. This is the first time in the parliament’s history,” Paylan told Dihaber about his suspension. “This was a message to us. If, after this, we do not do what they say, they will silence our voices,” he added.
The Armenian Weekly is following the story and will provide further details in the coming days.