Reaction to violence against Garo Paylan

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Chair Aram Hamparian sent a petition to the US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass on May 3. Signed by Hamparian, the petition is about HDP MP Garo Paylan who was subjected to physical violence during a parliamentary session on parliamentary immunity.

ANCA Chair Hamparian stated that there are concerns regarding the safety of Garo Paylan and asked help from the US. Here is the petition:

“Mr. Ambassador Bass,

I am writing to encourage you to publicly express the concern of the United States regarding the safety of Garo Paylan, an elected member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. He has, as you know, been the target, in recent days and weeks, of both threats and acts of physical violence in response to his free expression of views regarding democracy, tolerance, and human rights issues. During the tenure of U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Ross Wilson, the Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was murdered after a patently political prosecution, official state persecution, and the relentless incitement of hatred directed against him due to his honest discourse about the Armenian Genocide. Prior to his cold- blooded murder, the ANCA had called for an open expression of U.S. concern for his safety. Sadly, none was forthcoming. The only public words raised in his defense were those eulogizing him after his death. In light of this tragic experience, now is clearly the time for our government to urgently and publicly voice concern for the safety of Garo Paylan, and to also condemn those - both inside and outside of the Turkish government - who are inciting hatred against this courageous civic leader for simply speaking honestly and openly about issues of human rights, tolerance, diversity, and genocide. We would welcome the opportunity to engage with you further on this matter and look forward to your public remarks on this issue.”

US Department of State: “the violence is worrisome”

Deputy Spokesperson of the US Department of State Mark Toner, at the press briefing of the department, talked about the violence against Garo Paylan. “I don’t have the details of this particular individual or his case. I’d have to look into it, to be frank. I mean, obviously, the member of any political party who is being harassed or beaten or detained in any way would be of concern to us."

Support march in Armenia

On may 11, in Armenian capital Yerevan, a march was held in support for HDP MP Garo Paylan. Tens of Armenian citizens presented a letter to Yerevan UN Office demanding consideration on the attempted lynching of Garo Paylan in Turkish National Assembly.

The protesters carried posters which read, “I am Garo” in Armenian, English and Turkish. There were also posters reading, “We are all Garo” and “We, Armenians, are proud of you and love you, Garo Paylan”.

No great expectations from UN

Mark Hovhannisyan, one of the organizers of the march, spoke to before the march: “Especially in social media, there were people who say that what was done to Hrant Dink should be done to Garo Paylan as well. What else would you expect?” Speaking about their expectations from UN, Hovhannisyan said: “We don't expect much from such organizations. Most of the time, they keep their silence. However, this doesn't concern us. We have to talk about these issues and support Garo Paylan.”

Protesters demanded UN condemns Turkey's discriminatory attitude toward minorities and forms a committee with representatives from different countries to carry an investigation on the incident of Garo Paylan.


News Agenda