ANKARA—Officials from Turkey and Germany are investigating claims made by Armenian member of Turkish parliament Garo Paylan about possible assassination plots targeting Turkish citizens living across Europe.
During a parliamentary press meeting on Dec. 20, Paylan—a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP)—said he had received a tip-off about plans to assassinate Turkish citizens who oppose Turkey’s ruling regime and are living in Europe. According to Paylan, those dissidents include academics, journalists, and opposition politicians, many of whom live in Germany.
“I received intelligence last week over plans to assassinate several Turkish citizens living in Europe, especially in Germany. I have verified the information from multiple sources,” Paylan said at the press conference, quoted by Turkey-based Hurriyet news.
Paylan also said he had shared the intelligence with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP), according to the report.
In a statement, the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office said it had launched an inquiry into the claims and called on Paylan to testify. German authorities have also stated that law enforcement agents are aware of situation, but they did not provide additional details
Paylan said the plotters have a list of assassination targets in their hands. The lawmaker told Deutsche Welle that his allegations were based on “intelligence received from abroad” but could not disclose his sources.
Paylan was elected to Turkey’s Grand National Assembly on June 7, 2015, as the representative of Istanbul’s 3rd electoral district. He is one of the founding members of the HDP, a progressive pro-minority party. He is one of three current members of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey who are Armenians.
Before being elected to parliament, Paylan served on the central committee of HDP as well as the management board of the Armenian schools in Istanbul. He has long promoted bilingual education and minority rights in Turkey. He has been actively engaged in raising awareness of discrimination toward minorities and in defending the rights of the Armenian community in Turkey, especially after the Hrant Dink murder.
He has been the target of violent attacks, hate speech, and a temporary suspension from Parliament, since being elected.