Turkish parliament bans Armenian for using the term genocide
Ankara, Jan 14 (IANS) A Turkish-Armenian member of parliament was temporarily banned from Turkey’s National Assembly after he used the term genocide to describe the deaths of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire a century ago, officials said on Saturday.
Garo Paylan, a lawmaker belonging to the pro-minority Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said during a constitutional reform debate that Armenians had at one time made up 40 per cent of the Turkish population and now only constituted 0.1 per cent, Efe news reported.
“Obviously, something has happened to us, and I call it a genocide,” Paylan said.
“The Armenian people know very well what happened to them. I know very well what happened to my grandparents,” he added.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) called for Paylan’s expulsion from the assembly, claiming he had “insulted the Turkish nation”.
In the end, Paylan has been banned for three full sessions before he was allowed to return to his parliamentary seat.
According to Armenian activists and an overwhelming majority of international historians, between one and 1.5 million Armenians were systematically murdered during World War I by Ottoman troops and Kurdish irregulars.
Turkey, the Ottoman Empire’s legal successor state, denies “genocide” is an accurate term for the massacres.
Revisionists allege that accusations of genocide are an Armenian conspiracy or a form of anti-Turkish propaganda, instead claiming that the killings have been exaggerated or were justified due to the historical context of the time.
Another argument used by negationists is that many Armenians allied themselves with Russia, with the ensuing clashes causing hundreds of thousands of deaths on both sides.
On the other hand, 29 countries have officially recognized the events as a planned genocide, and there is a general consensus among most historians that the mass killings constituted the first modern genocide.
The term was coined by Polish-Jewish lawyer Raphael Lemkin in 1943 in reference to the organised deportation and extermination of Armenians between 1915-1923.