Turkish-Armenian parliamentarian Garo Paylan from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) has announced that he has submitted a legislative proposal for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide in 1915 via an e-mail sent to the press.
Turkey officially denies that the measures taken by the Ottoman Empire against its Armenian population during World War I constituted genocide.
According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, Paylan’s proposal includes the recognition of events that took place in 1915 as a genocide and that April 24 be accepted as the official date for commemoration of the events. Furthermore, Paylan asks that parliament confer citizenship on the descendants of those who were forced to leave Turkey or were deported because of the events.
Paylan also demands that a commission be established to identify the people who were responsible for the deportation of Armenians and to cleanse public spaces of their names.
The proposal submitted by Paylan stated that “According to a census conducted in 1914, approximately two million Armenians lived in the Ottoman Empire. At the night of April 24, 1915, around 250 Armenian intellectuals, including deputies and writers were arrested in İstanbul.”
Paylan said in his proposal that “After these people were sent into exile in Ayaş and Çankırı, the vast majority of them were killed. Among the ones sent into exile and killed were Dr. Nazaret Dağavaryan (a member of Ottoman Parliament), Armen Doryan (poet and journalist), Şavarş Krisyan (editor of the sports magazine Marmnamarz), Levon Larents (poet), Rupen Sevag (poet), Yenovk Şahen (theater artist), Siamanto [Atom Yarcanyan] (poet), Hagop Terziyan (pharmacist and writer), Taniel Varujan (poet), Krikor Yesayan (teacher and translator), Rupen Zartaryan (writer and poet), Diran Kelekyan (writer and professor of Turkish language) and Krikor Zohrab (writer and a member of Ottoman Parliament).”
Meanwhile, Ed Royce, chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, has issued the text of a statement on the Armenian genocide he will deliver at a commemoration event this evening. “Truth does not stand in the company of caveats, euphemisms or qualifications. It stands fearlessly and unapologetically on its own – and so should the US record on the Armenian genocide,” the statement said.
“That is why I have repeatedly called on various US administrations to call the horrific violence of 1915 by its true name, and officially recognise it as the Armenian genocide. Just this week I have joined with several of my House colleagues on a letter to President Trump, urging him again to refer to the genocide in his April 24th commemoration remarks.”
In his statement, Royce, who was involved in the drafting of a successful bill defining Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) atrocities as genocide, linked denials of past genocides to the Islamist group’s ongoing crimes. “Genocide deniers in Turkey, the Middle East, Europe and even here at home are gaining traction in their attempts to whitewash history and convert the genocide into mere ‘consequences of war’,” he said.
“Genocide perpetrators continue to believe that there is a chance for impunity in the conduct of their crimes against humanity, as we have seen in the former Yugoslavia, in Rwanda and even today in ISIL-held territory in Syria and Iraq.”