Prior to the approval by a Turkish parliamentary committee of a bill stripping parliamentarians of their immunity, a physical fight broke out on May 2 between members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) party. HDP’s Armenian Parliamentarian Garo Paylan was targeted in the attack, both physically and through hate speech. Paylan called the attack a premeditated “lynching” campaign in a press statement on May 3. This was the second fight in parliament in the past five days.
In a statement following the attack, the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) said it had repeatedly and unsuccessfully called on the U.S. government to condemn the political prosecution, persecution, and threats directed against Agos Editor Hrant Dink prior to his 2007 murder. The statement reads:
“Prior to his 2007 murder on the streets of Istanbul, the ANCA repeatedly – but, ultimately, unsuccessfully – called on the U.S. government to condemn the political prosecution, persecution and threats directed against this courageous Armenian journalist for his “crime” of speaking honestly about the Armenian Genocide
American presidents like calling for a “full, frank and just acknowledgement of the facts,” as long as they’re not the ones doing the acknowledging. Brave talk, but no action, a sad surrender to foreign pressure.
It was Hrant – living under Erdogan’s dagger – who demonstrated the courage that U.S. leaders lacked.
Despite all our efforts and the clear facts on the ground, the U.S. Department of State and The White House could not find their way to utter even one public word in his defense. One expression of concern. One word on his behalf. That is, until his death.
It was only after Hrant Dink was murdered in cold blood that the U.S. government found its voice, condemning a murder it did nothing to prevent.
Let us work to ensure that the same fate does not befall Garo Paylan – a truth teller and peace maker who deserves the support, not the silence, of the elected representatives of the American people.”