ANKARA — In a written address to Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım about hate crimes against minorities, Istanbul Armenian MP Garo Paylan pointed out that suspects who placed a black wreath in front of the office of Agos had been released last week. He also reminded the Prime Minister that racist statements had been written on the walls of three Armenian schools within the past year, and that the Asri Jewish Cemetery in Hatay and the Syriac ancient cemetery of the Syriac Orthodox Mor Peter and Mor Paul Church had also been vandalized.

Paylan asked what kind of efforts are being taken by the government, whether there are precautions for protecting the minority institutions at risk or whether there is an ongoing investigation to hate crimes, to prevent such crimes.

Here is the full parliamentary question:

On April 24, 2015, a black wreath was placed in front of the office of Agos and the perpetrators released a statement on social media which read “One night, we might come to visit you unexpectedly,” Agos filed a criminal complaint against this threat and a lawsuit was launched against the Nationalist Turkish Party Istanbul Chair, Bilal Gökçeyurt and the chair of the so-called Turan Organization, Ercan Uçar. The prosecution demanded a prison sentence for the suspects on the charges of threatening and insulting. However, on November 17, the suspects had been acquitted.

Furthermore, in 2016, racial threats had been written on the walls of three Armenian schools on different occasions. In August 2016, the wall of Surp Haç Tıbrevank High School was defaced with “Suffering for Armenians.”  In January 2016,  “Suffering for Armenians” on the front wall of Kalfayan. In September 2016:  “Long live Turkish the race,” and in November 2016 on the wall of Bomonti Mıhitaryan High School:  “One night, we will seize Karabakh unexpectedly.”

In addition, a Jewish cemetery in Hatay was vandalized on June 2016 and the Syriac ancient cemetery of the Syriac Orthodox Mor Peter and Mor Paul Church had been vandalized in November.

Thus, I would like to ask:

1- What kind of work is the government carrying out for preventing the hate crimes against the minority groups, that has been increasing and going unpunished?

2- Is the government taking any specific precautions for protecting the minority institutions and their properties?

3-  Is the Intelligence Department of Turkey (MİT) carrying out any investigation on the hate crimes against the minority groups?

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