Far-right independent lawmaker Ümit Özdağ has threatened HDP deputy Garo Paylan with another genocide. “You’ll go through a Talaat Pasha experience when the time comes and you should,” Özdağ told Paylan on Twitter. Speaking to Duvar English, Paylan said that hate speeches lead to hate crimes and that crimes that go unpunished are bound to be recommitted. “We’ll die if they kill us, but we’ll never leave this country to fascists,” he said.
A Turkish far-right independent lawmaker has threatened an Armenian deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) with another genocide.
Ümit Özdağ, who was sacked from the Good (İYİ) Party last year, said that HDP deputy Garo Paylan “should go through a Talaat Pasha experience when the time comes,” referring to the Ottoman politician who ordered the Armenian genocide in 1915.
“You shameless, provocative man. You can go to hell if you’re not happy [here]. Talaat Pasha exiled traitors like you, not the patriotic Armenians. You’ll go through a Talat Paasha experience when the time comes and you should,” Özdağ said on April 26 in response to Paylan’s criticism of Talaat Pasha’s name still being used in street and school names.
“We make our children walk on the streets named after Talaat Pasha, the architect of the genocide, 106 years later. We make them receive education in schools named after him. We live in a country similar to what Germany would be if streets and schools had been named after Hitler,” Paylan said on April 24, the Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day.
Paylan also called on Turkey to recognize the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide, noting that the issue is on the agenda of other countries because Turkey denies it.
“I’m seeking justice in the Turkish Parliament. The Armenian genocide happened on this soil and justice can only be served here. We need to face the pains of the Armenians here, where the pain belongs. We need to soothe this pain with justice,” Paylan said in a separate tweet.
Paylan’s HDP is the only major party in Turkey that recognizes the genocide. It was targeted by authorities on April 24 for doing so. A founding member of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) went as far as to wish for the HDP to “become extinct too.”
Özdağ, a political figure known for his racist remarks against Syrian refugees, was slammed by Twitter users on April 26 for suggesting another genocide, as many reported him to Twitter for hateful conduct.
The Human Rights Association (İHD), meanwhile, said that they will file a complaint against Özdağ.
A day later, Paylan responded to Özdağ’s threat.
“A remnant of the mentality that slaughtered my people says ‘We’ll do it again.’ You hit us and did we not die? We did. However, those left behind never abandoned the struggle for justice. They won’t do so after me,” Paylan said on April 27, as he called Özdağ a fascist.
‘No need to be reminded’
Speaking to Duvar English, Paylan said that hate speeches lead to hate crimes.
“Our country is in an atmosphere of hate and the political scene ignores these hate speeches. Hate crimes become ordinary as a result,” he said, stressing that crimes that go unpunished are bound to be recommitted.’
“The genocide took place 106 years ago in a similar atmosphere of hate. Özdağ was able to say these to me because of this atmosphere of hate. I’m not afraid. We’ll die if they kill us, but we’ll never leave this country to fascists,” Paylan noted.
The HDP deputy said that Özdağ didn’t need to remind him of Talaat Pasha, since Armenians are constantly aware of the hate crimes.
“I’m doing politics knowing this,” he said, adding that his family was also constantly subjected to hate crimes and speeches.
“My father was subjected to them and I, as a member of the third generation, am also targeted,” Paylan said.
“There is no need to be reminded. We are going through the Talaat Pasha experience for the past 106 years.”