By Robert Jones
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently held a rally at the airport in the northern Turkish city of Trabzon. During his speech, the crowd started chanting: “Armenian bastards cannot deter us.” Erdogan did not warn or condemn the crowd as they repeated their ugly slogans.
Garo Paylan, an Armenian MP from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), launched a criminal complaint through his lawyer, Levent Piskin, against those who organized the rally on October 15 and those who shouted the slogan for “public incitement to hatred and hostility towards and denigration of the Armenian people.”
“The fact that Erdogan stayed silent and did not stop the slogans has facilitated the targeting of Armenians,” said the petition, which continued: “Paylan has seriously been impacted by these slogans and has been exposed to threats and insults by people encouraged by the slogans.”
Paylan said that Erdogan, Suleyman Soylu (the Turkish minister of interior), and Veysel Eroglu (the minister of forestry and water affairs) were present at the rally, “as eyewitnesses” to the incident.
Turkey not only still aggressively denies the 1915 Armenian genocide, but also continues to insult the survivors of the genocide for their Armenian identity. And this tradition dates back to the founding phase of the Turkish Republic in 1923.
Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder and first president of Turkey, declared on March 16, 1923, in a speech to the Adana Turkish Merchant Society:
"The Armenians have no right whatsoever in this beautiful country. Your country is yours, it belongs to Turks. This country was Turkish in history; therefore it is Turkish and it shall live on as Turkish to eternity. ... Armenians and so forth have no rights whatsoever here. These bountiful lands are deeply and genuinely the homeland of the Turk."
This denialist, discriminatory, and degrading policy regarding Armenians is still alive and well in Turkey.
Erdogan himself, during an interview broadcast on Turkish TV in 2014, referred to Armenians as “ugly.”
The Clarion Project reported that since August of last year, military curfews have been imposed on several predominantly Kurdish towns in southeastern Turkey. “While Turkish security forces destroyed the town of Cizre in September, 2015, they announced on a loudspeaker to the local Kurdish population: ‘Armenians are proud of you; you are all Armenians. You are Armenian bastards.’
“The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) also reported that the police announced to the Kurds of Cizre that they were ‘Armenian sperms.’
“None of the police officers or soldiers responsible for these announcements has been brought to account, apparently because they acted in accordance with the official line of the Turkish regime.”
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