The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has filed a motion against pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Garo Paylan over his alleged violation of the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).
Article 301 criminalizes denigration of the Turkish nation, the Turkish state, the Turkish Parliament, the government of the Republic of Turkey and the legal institutions of the state.
According to T24 news portal, the motion came after Paylan’s interview with the Horizon Weekly, an Armenian Canadian publication, in which he refered to the 1915 incidents as a genocide and saying that there is still an ongoing genocide in Turkey.
Turkey categorically rejects the term “genocide” to describe the deaths of up to 1.5 million Christian Armenians in World War I in what is now eastern Turkey. Many Armenians and historians say the Ottoman government pursued a deliberate policy of genocide.
With an amendment made to the TCK in 2008, securing permission from the Justice Ministry was made obligatory to launch investigations into individuals based on Article 301 of the TCK.
The Justice Ministry has allowed an investigation into Paylan to proceed.
The prosecution of members of Parliament has been possible since the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lent support to a 2016 proposal submitted by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on removing deputies’ immunity from prosecution.
Article 301 initially came into force on June 1, 2005, and made it a crime to “insult Turkishness.” On April 30, 2008, the code was amended to change “Turkishness” into “the Turkish nation.”
Since 2005, charges have been brought in more than 65 cases, some of which are high profile.