HDP MP Garo Paylan applies to top court over treatment after ‘genocide’ comment
DHA photoPeoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Istanbul deputy Garo Paylan applied on Jan. 16 to the Constitutional Court, demanding that the top court annul his temporary suspension from parliament after using the word “genocide” in reference to the World War I-era mass killings of Ottoman Armenians.
Paylan, who is of Armenian descent, said in a statement that his right to speak had been violated by the “biased stance” of Deputy Parliamentary Speaker Ahmet Aydın after he was prevented from issuing his address due to his use of the word “genocide” which he said he had previously uttered many times.
He also said the parliamentary speaker rejected his request for an additional five minutes to speak.
“This is both a violation of the law and a violation to the immunity of the rostrum, as well as the freedom of expression,” Paylan said.
The HDP deputy later applied to the Constitutional Court for the annulment of his suspension from the parliament for three sessions.
During heated discussions on changes to the constitution on Jan. 13, Paylan said four communities had been lost and “driven from these lands in large massacres [and] genocides,” namely, Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks and Jews.
Lawmakers from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) angrily interrupted Paylan’s speech, with AKP deputy Naci Bostan slamming Paylan’s comments as “provocative” and “unfair.”
Ultimately, he was banned from attending three sessions in parliament.
Turkey accepts that many Christian Armenians living in the Ottoman Empire were killed in clashes with Ottoman forces during World War I as a result of civil strife triggered in part by Armenians siding with invading Russian troops, but contests the figures and denies that the killings were systematically orchestrated and constitute genocide. It also says many Muslim Turks perished at that time.