Shameful moments during constitutional amendment discussion

When HDP MP Garo Paylan started to talk about the genocides and massacres that oppressed peoples of Turkey have been subjected to, Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydın interrupted Paylan’s speech. During the session, three parties, AKP, CHP and MHP, condemned the speech. Garo Paylan is excluded from the parliament for 3 sessions and the word “genocide” is removed from the minutes.

HDP Istanbul MP Garo Paylan took the floor during the discussion concerning 11th article of the proposed constitutional amendments. Stating that ignored ones either lapsed into silence or revolted in the history of Turkey, Paylan said: “Between 1913 and 1923, Armenians, Syriacs, Greeks and Jews had been lost. They were either exiled with genocides and major massacres or subjected to population exchange.” 

The moment Paylan used the word “genocide”, AKP MPs started to yell and stood up. Addressing to Paylan, Parliamentary Deputy Speaker Ahmet Aydın said, “Watch your manner,” and asked him to take what he said back.

Paylan: “Let’s face it together” 

Continuing to speak, Paylan said: “Once we were 40% and now we are just one per thousand. This means that something had happened to us… I call it genocide and you may call it whatever you want. Let’s agree on a name together and move forward. Armenian people know what happened to them very well. I know what happened to my ancestors, my grandfather very well. Come on, you name it and let’s face it together. We are null and void now, we are just one per thousand.”

While AKP MPs were reacting against Paylan, AKP Istabnul MP Metin Külünk shouted, “That word of genocide must be corrected.” Some AKP MPs tried to walk up to Paylan. Session was recessed because of the tension. 

Exclusion from the parliament for 3 sessions 

After the break, a decision that will put its stamp on the history of the parliament was made. Speaking on behalf of AKP, CHP and MHP, MPs condemned Paylan’s statements.

Garo Paylan is excluded from the parliament for 3 sessions because he used the word “genocide”. It was also stated that Paylan’s statements will be removed from the parliamentary minutes. After the decision was declared, HDP MPs left with Paylan.  

Paylan: there was a lynch atmosphere in the parliament 

Paylan told about what happened in the parliament in “Radyo Agos” program of Açık Radyo: 

“After my statements, AKP MPs started to yell. There was a break for more than one hour. During the break, MHP and AKP MPs came together. They turned the situation into a crisis. MHP said that it won’t be supporting the amendments if I am not punished. Since AKP leans on MHP now, it hasn’t risen to the challenge. Now, I am excluded from the parliament for 3 sessions.” 

“The worst part was that AKP, MHP and CHP MPs made contemptible remarks stating that I cannot use the word genocide. It was like peer pressure; other MPs enthusiastically clapped for showing their support. There was a lynch atmosphere. We left the parliament with my friends, after my punishment was declared.” 

“I just said, “100 years ago, the ones who said ‘the constitution of Turks’ caused the destruction of peoples. If you say it again today, the ignored ones will either lapse into silence or revolt. It will do harm us all.” I tried to tell it with reference to the events happened 100 years ago. I talked about the disaster that befell us. I said that we shouldn’t be preoccupied with the naming; I said, ‘I call it genocide and you may call it whatever you want.’ I didn’t mean to provoke anything. Unfortunately, this is just the zeitgeist, I guess. Other countries had gone through such dark times; now we are going through dark times.”