‘Is it OK to insult history of Armenians?’ Turkish lawmaker criticizes oppression of minorities in parliament

Armenpress News Agency, Armenia

'Is it OK to insult history of Armenians?' Turkish lawmaker criticizes
oppression of minorities in parliament

YEREVAN, JULY 19, ARMENPRESS. Turkish lawmaker of Armenian origin
Selina Dogan from the opposition Republican People’s Party has raised
the issue of protecting the rights of national minorities, including
Armenians, at parliamentary debates of a bill package on prohibiting
the term “genocide”, Agos newspaper reports.

Speaking about those articles of the package which imply punishment
for lawmakers who will insult “the history of the Turkish nation and
the common past” (mentioning the Armenian Genocide is also considered
to be “an insult to the Turkish nation’s past”), Dogan emphasized that
these are simply attempts to silence the voice of minorities in the

“Certainly, nobody must insult the history and common past of the
Turkish people. However, what will you say about the other peoples?
For instance, can is it OK to insult the history of the Armenian
people?”, she said.

She noted that the Turkish ruling party is silencing all structures
necessary for a democratic country one by one.

“The media is silenced, academicians are silenced, the business
community is silenced, workers’ unions, civil society are buried in
silence…..The only speakers are opposition lawmakers, whom in turn you
are trying to silence with these changes”, Dogan said.

Mentioning the recent detention of activists, the lawmaker drew
attention on the fact that lawfully acting figures in the legal sphere
are being declared “terrorists” in a matter of seconds.

She said that Turkish minorities are very concerned over the political
environment which is created by the authorities.

“Immediately after the coup attempt, the media outlets which are the
speakers of the ruling party began targeting the minorities. Last
Sunday the Armenian Patriarchate of Istanbul delivered a prayer for
the July 15 victims. The Jewish community of Turkey also delivered
prayers in synagogues for the July 15 victims on Saturday. And what
did the pro-government media do? It declared Fetullah Gulen to be
Armenian, it wrote that Gulen is cooperating with the Jews. They even
made the leader of the Orthodox Church, Supreme Patriarch Bartholomew,
who has devoted his entire life to peace, an accomplice to the armed
coup attempt. When this is the situation, what do you expect, what
should the minorities think?

Minorities are for the first time represented in the parliament by
this number of lawmakers. And with this bill related to the internal
rules of procedure you are cutting the voice of the minorities in the
parliament”, she said.

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