YEREVAN (Panorama.am) – On September 19, Armenian member of Turkish Parliament representing the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Garo Paylan explained the importance of recognizing the Armenian Genocide for Turkey during his remarks at the sixth Pan-Armenian Armenian-Diaspora conference in Yerevan.
“We believe there is possibility to live in peace and solidarity,” said Paylan. “The HDP recognizes the Armenian Genocide and knows Turkey will fail to solve the Kurdish issue and become a democratic state without confronting the historical past.”
Paylan discussed how when Kurds demanded equal rights, Armenians also began a dialogue about genocide recognition in Turkey.
“In 2012, for the first time since 1920, we gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim square to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide. Everyone knew that the Mets Yeghern (Great Catastrophe) had taken place,” added Paylan. “Regretfully, today the Turkish parliament bans to employ the ‘G -word,’ and lawmakers speaking mentioning it could face expulsion or sanctions based off the new parliamentary regulations.”
Paylan stressed that under President Erdogan’s rule Turkey is living a period of “dark winter” like it did 100 years ago while the West continues keeping a close eye on human rights violations in Turkey as it did during the Armenian Genocide.
The parliamentarian assured that the battle for democracy is a long and hard struggle amid the nationalism gaining ground in Turkey.
“Only a democratic Turkey can recognize the Armenian Genocide and open the border with Armenia,” Paylan stated, adding that the matter should not be passed to coming generations since the past four generations have struggled to achieve justice.
“Turkey lives a dark period and our fears of a new crime like one that took place 100 years ago grow,” continued Paylan. “Allowing crimes to go unrecognized and unpunished will provoke future crimes.”
“Turkey should recognize the Armenian Genocide, and I vow to struggle for that,” Paylan concluded, receiving a standing ovation from the forum’s participants.
It should be noted that Paylan refused to give any interviews to media outlets since his arrival when the Pan-Armenian conference opened. He instead asked reporters to address all questions at a press conference slated on Friday.
Paylan was also awarded a Gold Medal of the Yerevan State University.
On September 19, the Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament met with YSU students, made a short speech, and answered any questions they had.