HDP's Paylan submits motion for acknowledgement of 6-7 September 1955 Pogrom in Turkey

HDP's Paylan submits motion for acknowledgement of 6-7 September 1955 Pogrom in Turkey
Update: 06 September 2022 14:01
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"This spiral of impunity and inability to come to terms with the incident continues to threaten social peace," HDP deputy Garo Paylan has said.

Lawmaker Garo Paylan submitted a motion in the Turkish Grand Assembly (TBMM) for the declaration of a "Collective Memory Day" for commemorating the victims of the 6-7 September 1955 Pogrom.

Paylan, a member of the Armenian community in Turkey and Diyarbakir deputy for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said in his proposal:

"The 6-7 September 1955 Pogrom is one of the tragic incidents in the history of the Turkish Republic, one that still has not been acknowledged. According to official reports, a total of 4,226 residents, 1,011 offices, 74 churches, eight sacred wells, one synagogue, two monasteries, 26 schools and three cemeteries, all belonging to Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities in Istanbul and Izmir, were destroyed, torched and looted. Many women were subjected to sexual assault, many people were severely beaten, and at least 10 citizens were killed during the pogrom. Despite the declaration of martial law in Ankara, Izmir and Istanbul and the ensuing security measures, the mass violence and abuses targeting the minorities and their places of worship continued on 7 September in Istanbul, Izmir, Hatay and Canakkale."

Paylan noted that although some 4,400 people were arrested after the pogrom, close to 4,000 were released within a couple of months, including those who systematically spread propaganda that led to the pogrom and the organizers of a nationalist rally on 6 September at Istanbul's Taksim Square. He added that merely 228 were found guilty and received punishment over joining in the pogrom that an estimated 100,000 people took part in.

Paylan also reminded that a Turkish General Sabri Yirmibesoğlu, who was to later serve as the Secretary-General of the National Security Council in late 1980s, said publicly on an occasion, "6-7 September was a Special Warfare operation. It was an impressive organization, and it achieved its objective."

Underlining that the 6-7 September Pogrom has not been acknowledged, the perpetrators have been protected by a policy of impunity, and the victims have been denied compensation, Paylan stated that this attitude of the authorities has led to similar incidents of mass violence in the decades following the Pogrom.

"This spiral of impunity and inability to come to terms with the incident, diminished new generations' hopes for their country's future, and continues to threaten social peace," he added.

Paylan stressed that the declaration of 6-7 September as a Day of Collective Memory for the commemoration of the victims of the Pogrom would be a big step regarding acknowledgement of the past.