ANKARA, Turkey—Members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including Armenian Member of Turkish Parliament Garo Paylan, were attacked on Wednesday at a parliamentary session. According to Erbil-based Kurdistan 24 news outlet, the parliamentarians were attacked by a group of ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lawmakers.
HDP’s Filiz Kerestecioglu (R) confronts AKP’s Bayram Ozcelik (L) as another lawmaker holds the former during a scuffle at the Turkish Parliament, Ankara, March 7, 2018. (Photo: DHA)
HDP Member of Parliament (MP) Mahmut Togrul, who represents the Gaziantep Province had his left arm broken, and his colleague Muslum Dogan of Izmir was kicked in the chest during the melee, which reportedly began after members of the HDP accused the government of engaging in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Kurdish people in Syria’s Afrin.
“The rhetoric ‘we will give Afrin to its rightful owners’ and announcements to settle refugees [in Turkey] there, is a plan of demographic change in a Kurdish-populated region; it is called ethnic cleansing,” Togrul had told the assembly during a speech, as quoted by Kurdistan 24.
“Kurds live in Afrin for a millennium. It is called ‘Kurd-Dagh’ (Kurd Mountain). You cannot resettle someone from Aleppo, Idlib, and Raqqa in the houses and lands of the people of Afrin,” he said, referring to Sunni Arab-populated cities of Syria.
According to Torgul, about 40 AKP members rushed the HDP lawmakers and threw punches and delivered kicks to them when they fell to the ground. The attack ended after members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) intervened.
“I was seriously beaten. I went to the hospital and received a medical report that I cannot work for 45 days,” Torgul added in his comments to Kurdistan 24. He also noted that MPs Garo Paylan and Behcet Yildirim also received serious blows during the attack.
“Last night in Parliament, the AKP tried to lynch us. They show their barbarism everywhere. We will continue to resist the fascists and we will win,” Paylan noted on his Facebook page on Thursday.