Garo Paylan: Article 301 brings death to freedom of speech in Turkey

Arminfo, Armenia
Jan 11 2019
David Stepanyan

ArmInfo. Article 301 brings the final death to freedom of speech in Turkey, lawmaker of the Turkish parliament from the Democratic Party of Peoples Garo Paylan expressed  such an opinion to ArmInfo, commenting on the latest processes  initiated against him.  

On January 11, the republican prosecutor's office of Diarbekir sent a petition to the Turkish parliament to deprive him of parliamentary immunity. At the same time, this  structure applied to the Ministry of Justice of Turkey for permission  to launch an investigation against the parliamentarian on the grounds  of Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code – public humiliation of  Turkish statehood, the people and the government. The prosecutor's  office's appeals are based on the latest statements and interviews  made by Paylan to Turkish media.

"All these petitions, the whole campaign against me are exclusively  based on my own statements to the media, made in my city- Diarbekir.  Indeed, I did not like the tense situation, the suppression of any  dissent, the servicemen and military equipment on the streets. Yes, I  openly stated about this, but this by no means should become basis  for using Article 301 against an opposition-minded lawmaker, "he  said.  In this light, the parliamentarian considers all recent steps  of the authorities against him as an attempt to make him and other  lawmakers keep silence about numerous violations of law and freedom  of rights in Turkey. The most terrible and unacceptable in all this,  he considers the "return" of the 301st article of the Turkish  Criminal Code sadly remembered since the murder of Hrant Dink.

This petition is the second against Paylan. In December last year,  the Office of the President of Turkey made a petition to deprive  parliamentary immunity against eight parliamentarians. In addition to  Paylan, the list included five of his party members, one lawmaker  from the ruling Justice and Development Party, and another from the  opposition Republican People's Party. Another request for deprivation  of immunity of 20 parliamentarians this time was received from the  prosecutor's office last week. Former Adviser to the Prime Minister  of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan Arsen Kharatyan on his Facebook page urged  the lawmakers of the National Assembly of Armenia of the new  convocation on January 14 – immediately after officially taking  office – make a joint statement in defense of Garo Paylan. "The  Turkish state has been repressing against Paylan for a long time. The  Armenian parliament which has an unprecedented legitimacy, should  send a corresponding statement to the RA Foreign Ministry and  instruct our diplomatic missions to take steps towards adopting  resolutions condemning the processes in Turkey," Kharatyan called.