Police prevent MP Garo Paylan from entering Armenian cemetery in Ankara to inspect ongoing construction

Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Diyarbakır MP Garo Paylan, Chamber of Architects Ankara Branch Chair Tezcan Karakuş Candan and the group accompanying them wanted to examine the construction undertaken by the Housing Development Administration of Turkey (TOKİ) on an Armenian cemetery in Ulus, Ankara, Bianet reports.

However, they were not allowed to enter the cemetery. Paylan protested the prevention, asking, “Which conscientious Muslim have a clear conscience in the face of concrete being poured on the dead?”

Paylan, together with the group accompanying him, made a statement in front of the barriers surrounding the construction site in the capital city.

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Garo Paylan said: “The Armenian people living here laid their deceased loved ones to rest with prayers and put grave stones. Now, they are pouring concrete on the graves of the dead.

“Who has a clear conscience in the face of this? The Christian conscience does not accept something like that, of course; we have it on our conscience. But the Muslims, who are the majority in this land… Do they have a clear conscience in the face of concrete being poured on the dead?”

Other highlights from his speech were as follows:

“Ankara was founded in this region; the peoples of Ankara, , Rums and Turks, lived together in this region. They created a civilization here and they died here; they buried their dead people here.

“This place was the cemetery of Armenians. The Armenians living on this soil were exiled from this land. The living were not respected. But the dead left behind were not respected, either.

‘Who has a clear conscience?’

“The Armenian people living here laid their deceased loved ones to rest with prayers and put grave stones. Now, they are pouring concrete on the graves of the dead. Who has a clear conscience in the face of this? The Christian conscience does not accept something like that, of course; we have it on our conscience. But the Muslims, who are the majority in this land… Do they have a clear conscience in the face of concrete being poured on the dead?

“You pour concrete on the dead and, then, demolish the shops of shop owners there. You will construct shops for those shop owners on the cemetery here and engage in trade. I know that the shop owners here will never accept something like that, but does the public conscience accept it? Does the conscience of this country accept it? We will see…

‘Inspection on public behalf prevented’

“I, as an MP of this country, have come here to inspect this unregistered construction on a public land. Security officers and a so-called architect have prevented me from entering this place; they have prevented me from inspecting this area in the name of the public.

“The Chair and executives of our Chamber of Architects were going to inspect this unregistered construction here on behalf of the public, but we have been prevented from doing so. There is a surrounded area with nothing written on its gate as to what it is. It does not even have a signboard on its gate, it does not even have a license. There is an unregistered construction and we are prevented from inspecting it.

‘People of Ankara should say stop to this’

“I demand that this unregistered construction and the pouring of concrete on the graves of Armenian people, which troubles public conscience, be stopped immediately. The executive, judiciary, Parliament and civil society of the country and, most importantly, the people of Ankara should say stop to the pouring of concrete on Armenian graves. The people of Ankara do not deserve this disrespectful act.” (HA/SD)

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