Far-right MP attacks Armenian lawmaker, threatens with genocide

Ümit Özdağ

A far-right independent member of the Turkish Parliament has threatened Turkish-Armenian lawmaker Garo Paylan with facing the same fate as his ancestors amid debates over the recent recognition of the mass killings of Armenians at the hands of the Ottoman Empire as genocide by the US administration, Turkish Minute reported.

On April 24 President Joe Biden became the first US leader to use the term genocide in an annual message on the anniversary of the 1915-1916 massacres.

Garo Paylan, an Armenian lawmaker from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), released a statement on his Twitter account on April 24 criticizing the naming of streets in Turkey after Talaat Pasha, the de facto political leader of the Ottoman Empire during World War I who is held responsible for the deportations and atrocities committed against Armenians at the time.

“We are walking on streets 106 years later named after Talaat Pasha, the architect of the genocide. We send our kids to schools named Talaat Pasha. We are living in a Turkey like what Germany would have been if there had been streets and schools named after Hitler in Germany today,” tweeted Paylan.

Paylan’s message drew an angry and threatening response from Ümit Özdağ, a professor of political science and currently an independent lawmaker who served with the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and İYİ Party in the past.

“Shameless, provocative man. If you are not very pleased [about living here], go to hell. Talaat Pasha did not deport patriotic Armenians but those like you who hit [Turks] from behind. When the time comes, you will and should also go through a Talaat Pasha experience,” Özdağ tweeted in remarks that attracted widespread criticism on social media, with some users reporting him to the company for hateful conduct.

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