HDP MP: Armenian Genocide hasn’t been confronted in 103 years

HDP's Paylan said, “As long as we are not democratized, we will only be waiting our turn to commit crimes. It was the Armenians and Alevis yesterday, it is Kurds today, and it will be Turks or another people tomorrow.”

It has been 103 years since the Armenian Genocide, when the Ottoman Empire launched the systemmic massacring of the Armenian people from spring 1915 to fall the same year. As the successor of the Ottoman Empire, the Turkish state has failed to identify their crime against humanity as the genocide it is, despite all international appeals to this day. The Turkish state is imposing the same suffering they did on the Armenian people on the Kurds today, and has never actually denounced genocidal policies. Political, cultural and physical genocides continue to this day.

Peoples’ Democratic Party (Halkların Demokratik Partisi - HDP) Istanbul MP Garo Paylan spoke to the ANF on the 103rd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide of April 24, 1915.


Paylan stated that 103 years ago today, 250 writers, intellectuals, journalists and politicians had been arrested in a planned operation and were exiled to Ankara and Çankırı, only to be massacred later. This incident has been widely accepted as the beginning of the Armenian Genocide, and Paylan said the Deportation Act passed after this incident had removed the Armenian people from Ottoman territories and destroyed them: “These policies and practices have completely wiped out the cultural presence and all traces of a whole people. The Armenian Genocide was not something that just happened and passed, like an earthquake. It has continued for 103 years with the denial policies formed in its wake. If Turkey had been able to confront the calamity, I believe we wouldn’t have suffered through all the massacres, genocides and suffering we have to date. But unfortunately, these crimes haven’t been confronted and the denial has continued, opening the way for new crimes.”


Paylan stated that the current climate is very similar to 103 years ago and added: “103 years ago, the issue was the Armenians and the refusal of their demands for equality. Today, the same policies are imposed upon the Kurds. The Kurds’ will and the demand for equality are rejected. The state attempts to continue with the policies of annihilation and assimilation. I believe confronting the calamity 103 years ago will mean healing for all of us. Not just for the Armenian people, but for every person living in Turkey, I believe it will be an important moment of justice. Confronting the Armenian Genocide would begin with the acceptance of the genocide first, then the removal of the perpetrators’ names from public spaces. The main perpetrator of the genocide Talat Pasha’s name is given to many public spaces. This is a symbol of the continuation of the genocidal climate.”


Paylan stressed that during the time of the Armenian Genocide the first Minister of Justice of the Republic Mahmut Esat Bozkurt had said, “This is the Turk’s state. Those who aren’t Turks have no rights. The only right they have is to be slaves,” and these words are true even today: “Today, confronting the Armenian Genocide would mean not perpetuating this quote by Bozkurt. MHP is already clear on this issue. Recognizing the Armenian Genocide, heeding the Kurds’ demands for rights and freedoms would mean the end of the ideology put forth by the MHP. Thus, as the AKP is leaning on the MHP for the last 13 years, they perpetuate MHP’s ideology. MHP’s basic demand is to absolutely never recognize the Armenian Genocide, and to ignore and suppress any and all demands by the Kurds. That is why we are far removed from justice right now. But we as the HDP put forth the demand for justice for today and for the past with our struggle.”


“Democratization has an important role for all,” said HDP Istanbul MP Garo Paylan and concluded his words with: “We went through a period in the recent past when we seriously discussed these matters. We owed that to the discussions about the democratic solution to the Kurdish issue. When such a great and current issue in the country was being discussed, we as the Armenians had the opportunity to bring the Armenian issue to the public agenda after a century of silence. Democratization is not just important for Kurds or Armenians, we can see from the experienced practices that it is also important for the Turks. The mindset that denies Kurds their rights and rejects a confrontation of the Armenians’ calamity also usurps the rights of Turks. It steals their jobs from them with the Statutory Decrees, and deprives them of their livelihood and freedom. In this sense, the idea of freedom is a whole. What is important is the democratization of this understanding of a despotic state. As long as we are not democratized, we will only be waiting our turn to commit crimes. It was the Armenians and Alevis yesterday, it is Kurds today, and it will be Turks or another people tomorrow.”