STRASBOURG, France—Head of PACE Armenian Delegation, Armenia’s National Assembly Deputy Speaker Hermine Naghdalyan has been re-elected as one of twenty Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). The vote took place at the PACE Winter Plenary Session, which will take place from January 23-27 in Strasbourg, France on Monday.
Naghdalyan has been one of the Vice President of PACE since January 2016, and according to PACE Rules of Procedure. She will continue her duties until PACE’s next session.
Representatives of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Spain, Moldova, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Andorra, Cyprus, and Estonia were elected PACE Vice-Presidents.
Armenian Member of Parliament, Naira Karapetyan, also member of Armenian delegation to PACE, gave a speech at PACE’s plenary session, highlighting the 10th anniversary of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink’s assassination in Turkey. The full text of the speech can be read below.
“As at the heart discussions of this session is the issues of attacks against journalists, let me express my deep concern about any attempt against journalists doing their work. The hard work done by them should be respected much, as the civil society and media is the main chain to make pluralism and have democracy in state. Freedom of expression is the value we are to be proud for.
I want to draw your attention that January 19th marks the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Hrant Dink, prominent Armenian-Turkish intellectual, chief editor of the Armenian newspaper Agos.
Dink was assassinated in Istanbul in 2007 by a 17-years-old Turkish nationalist. This was shortly after the premiere of the genocide documentary Screamers, in which he is interviewed about Turkish denial of the Armenian Genocide of 1915 and the case against him.
The trial of the assassin did not identify the masterminds behind the murder and bring them to justice. Throughout long years of investigation there has been an impression that certain revelations happened along shift of political landscape and yet clear cut question who and why remained unanswered.
We remember that Hrant Dink was repeatedly stigmatized and even tried for his position and statements regarding the Armenian Genocide.
Unfortunately, same environment of silencing voices seeking truth and justice prevail in Turkey after a decade of his murder. The suspension from parliamentary sessions of MP Mr. Garo Paylan as a punishment for his reference to the historic persecutions of the religious groups is the most recent example in this regard. There are reports that certain political parties are even attempting to initiate a criminal case against him equaling reference to the Armenian Genocide to a hate speech.
I strongly believe that failure to address violence and killing of journalists, community leaders, and intellectuals creates a climate of impunity, thus encouraging intolerance towards any idea, which runs counter to official narratives.
Today we have refused the topic of Turkey to be discussed in the frame of urgent debates, but believe me; we give more time for new violations, new attacks, new arrests, and new repressions, let the God me be mistaken. Member state of the Council of Europe should certainly honor the obligations taken, and such examples of silencing journalists, MPs, anyone, who has opposite point of view to government, is extremely unaccepted.”