Turkey: Intellectuals support Armenian deputy who receives death threats
Lawyers, academicians, businessmen and many other intellectuals in Turkey joined forces on Wednesday to support Garo Paylan, an Armenian deputy from the Peoples’ Democratic Party who recently received death threats from ultranationalist mob leaders.
A total of 424 intellectuals signed a petition that called on the ruling block to take action against the mafia and the deep state, saying that the revelations from the criminal gangs were unprecedented.
Mehmet Sinan Ince, an attorney working for a mafia boss revealed two weeks ago on Instagram the plans to murder Garo Paylan by Levent Goktas, former military commander of special operations, already wanted for another murder of a prominent academic.
When Paylan filed a criminal complaint against the intimidation and death threats, Ince went further to say on Twitter: “If we wanted we could have… We did not want to make a hero out of you. (...) This is Turkish soil, know your place.” He later closed his social media accounts.
In 2007, Hrant Dink, a prominent Armenian journalist who advocated Turkish–Armenian reconciliation was shot and killed in Istanbul after receiving similar death threats.
“The presence of gangs and mafia in the state staff became unconcealable” the statement said.
“The confidence of being immune to any criminal sanctions reinforce these dark forces, and they can threaten anyone. The current political climate that enables this confidence must change immediately.”
Turkey has a long history of mafia-state relations. The ties between the mob leaders and what is known as the “deep state” were surfaced during the Susurluk scandal in 1996 when a highway accident near the western town of Susurluk showed that deputy chief of the Istanbul Police Department, a member of national assembly, and an infamous contract killer for the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) were travelling together. Years of debate and trial followed suit but nobody was convicted.