Scores of Armenians held a rally in central Yerevan on Wednesday to condemn the recent incident with Garo Paylan, a Turkish-Armenian lawmaker who claims to have suffered an ethnically motivated attack during a larger brawl in Turkey’s legislature earlier this month.
Paylan is the lawmaker who ahead of the April 24 commemorations of the Armenian Genocide brought to the Turkish parliament portraits of seven Ottoman Armenian MPs who were killed between 1908 and 1915. He showed the portraits of the ethnic Armenian statesmen from the tribune and called for a parliamentary probe into their murders.
Paylan, who represents the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said during the mass brawl that erupted in the Turkish parliament on a separate issue on May 2 he was targeted because of being an ethnic Armenian.
Diaspora-based Armenian organizations, including Armenian-American advocacy groups, condemned the attack, drawing parallels with the Ottoman-era persecutions of Armenians.
The Armenian National Committee of America, in particular, demanded condemnation at the highest state level, also urging the U.S. ambassador in Ankara to raise the issue before the Turkish leadership.
Human rights groups in Armenia also reacted to the reported incident. Today, a number of civil activists staged a march towards the United Nations office in Yerevan in support of Paylan.
Activists held posters reading “I am Garo”. They demanded that the world community denounce the behavior of Turkey.
“We demand that the United Nations remain committed to its mission and at least denounce Turkey for its human rights record,” Hayka Aloyan, one of the organizers of the protest, told reporters before handing in a correspondent letter to UN representatives.