ISANTABUL—Garo Paylan, an Armenian member of the Turkish Parliament representing the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday took issue with recent comments by Turkey’s deputy prime minister, who used a derogatory term to describe non-Muslims living in Turkey as a hindrance to independence, prompting Paylan to raise the issue in parliament, reported Agos.
On December 3, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said, “For us, independence means to stand against the giavurs (infidels or non-believers) and to be able to call them ‘giavurs.’”
In his inquiry to parliament, Paylan urged Kurtulmus to personally take responsibility for his statement and provide a response.
Paylan said that according to Turkish Language Association (TDK), giavur means “1. a nonbeliever person, 2. non-Muslim.” He also cited linguist Sevan Nisanyan, who defined the term to mean “1. Zoroastrian, fire-worshiper, 2. non-Muslim, heretic.”
“Do you think that you insulted the Christians and non-Muslim people of Turkey by using the word of ‘giavur,’ which is used in a derogatory manner in many Turkish idioms and proverbs and which people often use to insult or defame certain groups or individuals?” asked Paylan in his parliamentary inquiry.
“Given that hate speech is defined as ‘speaking in an insulting or threatening manner on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation,’ do you think that your statement is a form of hate speech?” added Paylan.
“Regarding the fact that such statements often lead to hate crimes, do you think that your statement may cause hate crimes?” said Paylan.
Last month, Paylan, in a similar question, appealed to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim about the rise of hate crimes against Armenians and other minorities, suspects who threatened the Agos newspaper by placing black wreaths in front of its offices. That inquiry has yet to be answered.