Turkey’s Constitutional Court rejects lifting MP’s ban over use of ‘Armenian Genocide’

Paylan holding a photo of Krikor Odyan, an Ottoman jurist, politician, and writer of Armenian descent, during his parliamentary address.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected an application by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Garo Paylan, who demanded that the court lift a three session ban he received for having used the word “genocide” while describing the massacre of Armenians in 1915.

Paylan was banned after saying “something terrible” had happened to the Armenians, once 40 percent of the population but now one in a 1,000: “I call it genocide, you can call it whatever you want. Let’s name it together and move on,” Paylan said during deliberations on proposed changes to the country’s constitution on 13 January. He also pointed out that 40 percent of those who wrote the constitution the Ottoman Parliament were Christians.

Currently, only the governments of Turkey and Azerbaijan deny that there was an Armenian genocide while some others, notably the US and Israel, have avoided officially recognising the killing of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide.