Garo Paylan demands apology from Erdogan for ethnic and religious slur

Garo Paylan, a member of the Turkish Parliament of Armenian descent from pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has criticized Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on social media for using the word “gavur” (infidel), Stockholm Center for Freedom reports.

“You use this hate expression knowing there are citizens who have been victims of hate crimes fed with the slur of ‘gavur’ for generations. Shame on you!” Paylan said in a Twitter post.

Emphasizing that Erdogan had engaged in hate speech, Paylan asked if Erdogan would apologize during his speech in parliament. “As an Armenian who has been subjected to hate speech with the word gavur many times, I want it to be known that it is unacceptable for the president to use this word,” he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan resorted to discriminatory language when criticizing the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) during a speech at the Union of International Democrats (UID) Women’s and Youth Committee.

“We are sorry to see that although the opposition has a Turkish identity, they are resorting to the methods of the infidel in attacking us [the government] under the guise of criticism,” he said. The word used by Erdogan, “gavur,” which translates as infidel, is often employed as a religious and ethnic slur against non-Muslims and non-Turks. It also insinuates barbarity, and opposition politicians accused Erdogan of hate speech by using the word.

During the speech Erdogan accused Western politicians of fueling Islamophobia. “They [Europe] cannot accept Islam. They do not want to see how far Turkish migrants have come since the 1960s,” he said.

According to Erdogan, Western politicians have been targeting Muslims and particularly him in an attempt to mask their own failures in their own domestic and foreign policies. He accused the Turkish opposition of being part of this “insidious plot” by voicing the opinions of Western politicians in its criticism of his government.

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