Turkey: Murder of ethnic Greek on Imbros (Gökçeada) points to targeting minorities

Turkish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Mardin MP Tuma Çelik has submitted a parliamentary question to be answered by the Minister of Justice Abdulhamit Gül regarding a Rum (Greek) citizen murdered in Gökçeada/Imbros.

“On previous days, we received a news about a vicious murder. According to the news on Gerçek Gündem, Çanakkale Gündem and Gazete Karınca, 86-year-old Zafiris Pinaris, a resident in Gökçeada and a Rum citizen, was found dead in his home,” reminded Çelik and continued as follows:

‘No statement about the autopsy’
“Zafiris Pinaris was an artisan, very healthy despite his age, and a member of the Rum society living in the island for a long time now. On the news, it has been stated that three people were detained on the ground of their involvement in the attack, and those who entered the house of Pinaris to steal his money battered and killed him.

“Zafiris Pinaris was first taken to the Gökçeada State Hospital and then to Bursa Forensic Medicine Institute for autopsy. However, since the last week, there is no statement made by the local authorities regarding the incident.

“Another thing reported in the news is that the residents of the island are of the opinion that tension and uneasiness were created before the March 31 local elections.

“In this sense, ensuring that justice is served and the perpetrators are punished will relieve people’s uneasiness and grief to some extent.

‘Rum population of the island is now below 300’
“According to the 1960 population census, while around 5500 Rum people were living in the island, the Rum population is below 300 today because of the political implications and forced migrations.

“The murder of Zafiris Pinaris has led to the recurrence of the previous traumas as well as uneasiness among the island residents. What happened to a lonely and old artisan shows that a majoritarian perspective is still dominant aside the uneasiness of marginalization and being targeted.”

‘Minorities are targeted”
In this context, Çelik has addressed the following questions to Minister Gül:

Is there any statement by the Ministry of Justice regarding the murder of Zafiris Pinaris? Or will any statement be made?
Is there any working of the Ministry to prevent the marginalization of ethnic and religious identities and hate crimes? What are these workings?
Which precautions are taken by the Ministry so that all identities can live in security and peace in our country? Are these precautions taken together with other related ministries such as the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Education?
Which identities have been marginalized in the last five years in Turkey? Do you have any research regarding this?
Does the Ministry have a working to protect the international rights of those who were forced to migrate in the past?
Since the past, on the ground of the ‘wealthiness’ of the minorities, the houses of Greek, Assyrian and Armenian people have been targeted and the treasures are hunted. Which incidents have led to this kind of attitude?