Turkish political parties in no need of Armenian candidates

No party dared to take such a step for fear of losing votes of nationalists and Azeris that have become Turkish citizens.

There is starting a major pre-election campaign in Turkey. The first place is obviously for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Prime Minister Erdogan. Who will take the second place depends on how far Turkey has gone from Kemalism. The opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu is in a fair way to be second in parliament. Despite the skeptical viewpoint of Turkish nationalists, this party stands a good chance.

PanARMENIAN.Net - Supporters of CHP call Kilicdaroglu a second Kemal, but this comparison is not entirely correct and appropriate. Erdogan himself can be rightfully called a second Kemal, for he turned Turkey to face the Islamic world and tries to play a significant role in the Arab world. With regard to the Arab world it should be noted that Erdogan may lose; despite all the differences between the Arab States, they have all managed to develop a historical hatred for the Ottomans. However, one may assume that this hatred is not eternal either, and in the new Greater Middle East it may be impeding. Though, it’s still a thing of remote future.

A while back, the Turkish press began to circulate rumors about possible nomination of ethnic Armenians in candidate lists. However, no party dared to take such a step for fear of losing the votes of nationalists and Azeris that have become Turkish citizens and constitute a majority in Kars, Erzurum, Igdir, Van and other provinces that used to be Armenian vilayets. To say the least, Turkey has a distrustful attitude towards the Armenians, and especially those from Istanbul.

On April 11, Turkish parties were to submit lists of the candidates nominated for parliamentary elections in Turkey. However, none of them, including the pro-Kurdish party “Peace and Democracy” (BDP), included a name of any ethnic Armenian. Leader of the Party Selahattin Demirtas said at a press interview there would be not only Armenians but also representatives of other minorities included in their candidate list. However, at the last moment the BDP gave up its initiative. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), too, spoke of their intention to nominate candidates of Armenian descent. The ruling party, according to Turkish media, meant to include representative of the Armenian community of Istanbul, head of the Armenian Holy Saviour hospital Bedros Sirinoglu, known for his pro-government views. But even he was not included in the list of the AKP.

According to Director of the Caucasus Media Institute Alexander Iskandaryan, it’s quite possible that the candidates of Armenian descent may run as independent deputies. “If elected, the parliamentarians of Armenian origin would join some party. The voices of the Armenian community, listing 70000 members in a country with a population of 70 million people would hardly affect the outcome of elections. This is why Turkey sees no special need for Armenian parliamentarians,” the political expert said.

For the same reason, neither do the lists include names of representatives of Greek and Jewish communities. Besides, we must not forget that in the month of April it’s too dangerous to make a mention of Armenians in Turkey: you may lose your ranking. Every April the anniversary of the Genocide brings about changes in social and political life of Turkey, especially since there is only four years left before the 100th anniversary of the massacre. All of Turkey’s efforts will be aimed at neutralizing, and if possible, at the denial of the Armenian Genocide. Hardly can Turkey succeed in this program, but she will be trying, using all the levers, including the Armenian community. Whereas, the presence of Armenians in the parliament might somewhat tie the hands of heirs of the Ottoman Empire.

Karine Ter-Sahakyan / PanARMENIAN News
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