ANKARA (Bianet.org) — Independent member of Turkish parliament Ümit Özdag has threatened Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Garo Paylan over his remarks about the Armenian Genocide.
On April 24 Genocide Remembrance Day, Paylan criticized the fact that there still are streets and schools that are named after Talat Pasha, who was the Ottoman Empire’s minister of interior during the genocide.
“After 106 years, we walk on streets named after Talat Pasha, the architect of the Genocide. We educate our children at schools named after Talat Pasha,” he wrote on Twitter. He likened the situation to naming schools and streets after Hitler in Germany.
Quoting his tweet, Özdag wrote, “Impudent provocateur man. If you are not content, go to hell. Talat Pasha didn’t expel patriotic Armenians but those who stabbed us in the back like you. When the time comes, you’ll also have a Talat Pasha experience and you should have it.”
Özdag, a former member of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), was elected as an MP in the 2018 elections from the IYI (Good) Party, a splinter movement of the MHP.
He resigned from the IYI Party in early March, accusing it of expelling nationalists from the party.
In response to Özdag’s tweet, Paylan called him a “fascist” and wrote: “The remnant of the mentality that obliterated my people says, ‘We’ll do it again.’ You hit us and didn’t we die? We died. But those left behind never give up the struggle for justice. And they won’t give up after me as well.”
Özdag then called Paylan a remnant and a supporter of the Tashnag, an Armenian insurgent group in the Ottoman Empire, the ASALA, a militant group active in the 1970s and the 1980s and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“You massacred hundreds of thousands of Turks. You stabbed our army in the back. Those who did it suffered the punishment of it. No one touched patriotic Armenians,” Özdag wrote, calling Paylan a “vicious enemy of the Turkish nation.”
‘Only Turkey’s Parliament Can Heal Wounds of Armenian People’
On Monday, Paylan submitted a law proposal for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Turkey’s Parliament.
“April 24, 1915 was the starting day of the Great Calamity of the Armenian people,” Paylan said during a statement at the parliament.
“The Armenian people were exiled en mass from their homeland, country, towns and cities and a vast majority of them were massacred on the migration routes.
“Orphans like my grandmother survived this massacre. Those orphans have been seeking justice for 106 years. My grandmother passed from this world without being able to see justice done.
“My father, who was from the second generation, also lost his life without seeing justice done. As a third-generation Armenian of Turkey, I’m seeking justice in Turkey, at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.”
The law proposal Paylan submitted stipulates the recognition of the genocide, removal of the names of the perpetrators of the genocide from public places and a change in the citizenship law.
Paylan noted that while parliaments of many countries in the world have recognized the expulsion of Armenians as a genocide, what really matters is the recognition by Turkey’s parliament.
“When Turkey confronts the Armenian Genocide, it won’t matter what other parliaments say. The Armenian Genocide has been a subject of other parliaments, other presidents for 106 years because it’s been denied.
“We need to bring the pain of the Armenian people to the land where they belong, to this land, to Turkey. We should confront the pain of the Armenian people and relieve this pain with justice.”