Amid Turkey’s increasing interference in the Karabakh conflict and Azerbaijan’s escalating military aggression against Artsakh. Turkey’s far-right and radical groups are targeting Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of Turkey’s parliament representing the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP).
The Istanbul-based Agos Armenian newspaper reported Friday that ASAM, the Center For Eurasian Strategic Studies, a far-right think, has purchased full-page advertisements in Turkish newspapers and has targeted Paylan and his fellow HDP members.
In the advertisements, ASAM, which also runs the Armenian Research Center that was solely created to deny the Armenian Genocide, accuses Paylan and his fellow HDP members of “treason” citing their failure to “Armenia’s occupation.”
Paylan has filed a criminal complaint against the group.
The advertisement unequivocally supports Azerbaijan’s aggression against Armenians, saying: “Let the whole world know that as the Turkish nation we are with our Azerbaijani brothers until the end. We are ready at all cost. We would like it to be known that we will unconditionally support every step our country takes, as long as Armenia refuses to withdraw from occupied territories.”
“Azerbaijan is the other half of our hearts. It is our soul, our blood, our heart,” declares ASAM in the advertisement using refrains commonly used by Turkish leaders. “Azerbaijan you are not alone! The Republic of Turkey is behind you—the entire Turkish nation is behind you. One Nation. Two States.”
The group goes on to say that whoever does not support the Turkish state is a traitor.
“This is a betrayal by the HDP—the political party of the PKK terrorist organization—which refuses to condemn Armenia’s aggression and invasion. HDP member Garo [Paylan] is clearly betraying this country and that is unacceptable. We call on the independent judiciary to take whatever action necessary against the individual in question,” continued ASAM in it advertisement.
Paylan said in a press statement that he will never stop advocating for ending and stopping wars and announced that his has filed a criminal complaint against ASAM and its leaders.
“The ongoing tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh has unfortunately evolved into a war in recent days. In response to the calls of the entire world to stop the hostiles and observe the ceasefire, the [the ruling] AKP-MHP government has been openly advocating for war in the conflict between our neighbors Azerbaijan and Armenia,” said Paylan in his statement.
“Through its openly hostile rhetoric against the Republic of Armenia and the conflict negotiation process, Turkey’s government officials are committing crimes by propagating for war,” added Paylan.
“HDP and its representatives have always advocated for peace. My colleagues and I have always defended and will continue to defend peace by standing against war—both domestic and foreign,” explained the Turkish-Armenian lawmaker.
“The government is quickly dragging our country and the entire region into a dark place with its war mongering. Those who beat the drums of war are trying to silence those who are advocating for peace,” said Paylan. “No matter what they do, my colleagues and I will continue to say ‘peace.’ Because there are no winners in war and no losers in peace.”
“Some forces are trying to silence me. I hold ASAM and its affiliate organizations, as well as the government, responsible should any attacks take place against me,” said Paylan. “In order to defend peace against war, I call on all people and institutions who believe in peace to speak up against war policies.”