Prison sentence because of call for "Armenian hunting"

Garo Paylan had filed a lawsuit against Tolga Adıgüzel, who is the chair of Kars branch of a Turkish nationalist organization, because of his racist statements about pianist Tigran Hamasyan who performed at Ani last year. Adıgüzel is sentenced to 7 months and 15 days of imprisonment and imposed a 11.240 TL fine. The judgment is suspended.

So-called “Grey Wolves” Organization Kars Branch Chair Tolga Adıgüzel made a racist and hatred-inciting statement to the press about world renowned pianist Tigran Hamasyan, who performed at Ani last year. HDP Istanbul MP Garo Paylan filed a criminal complaint against Adıgüzel.

After the complaint, a case was opened in Kars 3rd Penal Court of First Instance, which is concluded on May 24. The court sentenced Adıgüzel to 6 months of imprisonment with the charge of openly degrading a certain group of people because of social, racial, religious, sexual or regional differences. Because he committed this offense through media organs, his sentence is aggravated to 7 months and 15 days. He is also imposed 11.240 TL fine. Since he has no previous conviction, the judgment is suspended.

What happened?

On June 21, 2015, after world renowned Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan and Yerevan Chamber Choir performed at Ani, so-called “Grey Wolves” Organization Kars Branch Chair Tolga Adıgüzel made a statement to the press. He said, “Do you want us to go and hunt Armenians in the streets of Kars?” and pointed the performers as targets with racist statements.

Here are the highlights from his statement:

“Recently, some strange human pieces of garbage dressed as priests performed at Ani. I vehemently, regretfully and strongly condemn that concert. What is their purpose? Who does support them inside our country? Who are the treacherous journalists who cooperate with them? Everybody must know their place and mind their steps! Are these traitors testing our patience? Do you want us to go and hunt Armenians in the streets of Kars? Would they let us to perform in a place that is sacred for them? For now, we don't do such things, but this doesn't mean that we won't. We are keeping what happened in our minds.”