ISTANBUL — Minorities in Turkey worry that they could again be pawns of shadowy forces that seek to exploit the country’s current discontents, Garo Paylan, Isatanbul Armenian MP from from oppositin HDP, told Al-Monitor.

The comments come after vandals targeted several Alevi homes in eastern Turkey. Late last week, assailants painted an ominous red “X” on 13 homes in the predominantly Alevi district of Cemal Gursel in Malatya, a conservative city of nearly 800,000 people, said the head of a local Alevi group, adding police had yet to make any arrests.

Two days after the Alevi homes were vandalized, an Armenian church association was pelted with stones when the office was empty.

Only a few dozen Armenians still live in Malatya; they made up a third of its inhabitants before genocide during World War I annihilated the country’s Armenian population. Garo Paylan’s family is originally from Malatya.

Minorities worry that they could again be pawns of shadowy forces that seek to exploit the country’s current discontents, said Garo Paylan, an HDP lawmaker and an ethnic Armenian. His family is originally from Malatya.

“They [minorities] remember what happened to their grandparents, or even their mothers and fathers, and they know that it is in the current kind of environment that crimes can occur,” he told Al-Monitor.

“I’m not saying that the AKP [ruling Justice and Development Party] wants that to happen. Some powers use minorities as a form of manipulation against each other [knowing] people are biased against these identities,” he said.

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