ISTANBUL — Pro-government Turkish newspapers have accused five members of the Dutch parliament of ‘betrayal’ after they voted to recognize the Armenian genocide of 1915.
The five MPs – Dilan Yesilgöz of the VVD party, Socialist MPs Cem Lacin and Saadet Karabulut and GreenLeft members Zinhi Özdil en Nevin Özütok – are all of Turkish descent. They were subjected to a blizzard of abuse on social media after newspapers, which supports the Turkish government, branded them ‘traitors to the mother country’ and “degenerates” calling the vote ‘scandalous’.
Parliamentary chairwoman Khadija Arib denounced the newspaper’s intervention. ‘Threats or inciting threats in response to people expressing their opinion is unacceptable,’ she told Nieuwsuur. ‘This has no place in a democracy and in a free and open society such as ours.’
Tunahan Kuzu, for the Denk party, told Turkish television that the vote was ‘a stunt to win support in the run-up towards the municipal elections’. Kuzu, whose party is popular with the Netherlands’ Turkish minority, added that ‘recognizing something like this is unacceptable to us, and Turkish Dutch candidates need to make clear where they stand.’
The five lawmakers have reported receiving threats and hate mail. “The era of intimidation and demonisation is over,” Zihni Ozdil, one of the GreenLeft MPs, told the Algemeen Dagblad tabloid.
“I do not feel totally targeted by these kind of people. I am Dutch,” said Dilan Yesilgoz of the VVD, who arrived in the Netherlands as a refugee in 1984.