The ongoing tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno Karabakh has regrettably evolved into a war in recent days.

Disregarding the calls for a ceasefire from all over the world, the AKP-MHP government have taken to warmongering in the dispute between our two neighbors, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The government engages in war propaganda by openly supporting the military conflict and is publicly resorting to belligerent rhetoric against the Armenian State instead of persuading both parties to start negotiations and push for de-escalation.

Turkey’s Armenian community has also been intimidated in this climate of hate speech. Provocateurs gathered at the Armenian patriarchate with Azeri flags and Turkey’s Armenian community and citizens of Armenia who live and work in Turkey no longer feel safe.

My party and I have also been targeted for calling for peace by an organization called ASAM (Eurasia Strategic Research Center) through ads published in some newspapers. I filed a criminal complaint against the people who are behind this hateful statement. I will continue to support peace initiatives in the Caucuses and will not be cowed by intimidation tactics.

Article 20 of the United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a signatory, stipulates that “any propaganda for war shall be prohibited by law.” The authorities are committing a war propaganda crime.

HDP and its representatives have always advocated peace. My friends and I have relentlessly defended and will continue to defend peace by standing against war in all areas of life and politics, both domestically and abroad.

ASAM ads published in Turkish newspapers targeting Garo Paylan and HDP

I have always stood by the peaceful solution to regional conflicts whereas the government insists on responding with hardpower and threat of war. This was the case with the Eastern Mediterranean issue, the Kurdish issue and most recently the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. Since the first day of the current conflict, I worked relentlessly to stop this war, for fear that it would result in a catastrophe for both the Azeri and Armenian people. In all my statements I consistently defended peace.

The ruling government is dragging our country and the region rapidly into darkness with its pro-war policies. Those that play the war drums are trying to silence those calling for peace. Yet, neither my friends nor I will cease to call for “peace”.

THERE ARE NO WINNERS IN WAR AND NO LOSERS IN PEACE!

It is crystal clear that some powers are mobilized to silence me. And as an Armenian from Turkey, I know very well the meaning of the recent attacks. Regardless of these intimidation tactics , I will never refrain from taking on my responsibility in the effort to stop wars. I hereby declare that should anything happen to me, in as much as the government, ASAM and similar organizations of opaque nature must be held accountable.

I want to encourage friends of peace to raise their voices and defend peace against war!

Garo Paylan
Member of the Turkish Parliament
HDP Co-Deputy Chair

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