Armenians of Turkey report rise in hate speech, U.S. State Dept says

Armenians of Turkey report rise in hate speech, U.S. State Dept says

PanARMENIAN.Net - Armenian minority groups in Turkey reported a rise in hate speech and coded language directed against the Armenian community, including from high-level government officials, the United States Department of State said in a fresh report published on Tuesday, March 31.

In its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the Department of State further noted the term “Armenian” has remained a common slur in Turkey.

In a speech on May 4, 2020, President Erdogan stated, “We will not give in to terrorists, who are the leftovers of the sword.” Armenian groups noted “leftovers of the sword” is a term that had been used to indicate those who survived the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Ottoman Empire in 1915-1923.

On May 29, 2020, the widow of ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, who was murdered in 2007, and a Hrant Dink Foundation lawyer received death threats by email urging them to leave the country. Turkish police arrested two suspects in the case who were released from detention on September 21, pending trial.

"After the outbreak of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan on September 27, members of the Armenian minority reported increased anti-Armenian rhetoric, including in traditional and social media. Supporters of Azerbaijan staged car convoys featuring Azerbaijani flags in Istanbul near the Armenian Patriarchate and in districts with large Armenian populations," the report said.

"The Hrant Dink Foundation recorded a threefold increase in hate speech targeting Armenians in the week of September 27-October 5, citing more than 1,000 news reports and commentary featuring anti-Armenian language meeting the organization’s criteria for hate speech. On October 5, HDP MP and ethnic Armenian Turk Garo Paylan stated he had been threatened and noted that a pro-government think tank had placed newspaper ads calling him a spy for supporting Armenia."

Hate speech and calls for violence against Armenians surged to an unprecedented level in Azerbaijan too, especially during Baku's aggression against Nagorno-Karabakh. Turks and Azeris living abroad were filmed threatening Armenians and attacking them during peaceful gatherings and rallies across the world.

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