DIYARBAKIR, Turkey—On Sat., Nov. 30, an AYF (ARF-Dashnaktsutyun Youth Organization) delegation comprised of Sarkis Degirmenjian and Rupen Janbazian participated in the first youth congress of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The congress was organized by the Youth Assembly of the BDP and was held in Diyarbakir’s Seyrantepe Sport Hall. The invitation was extended to the AYF as well as all other member youth organizations of the International Union of Socialist Youth (IUSY).
The conference was attended by more than 30,000 BDP members and supporters, as well as several representatives of socialist youth organizations from around the world. The AYF representatives addressed the crowd, outlining their views on a number of regional and international issues faced by both the Armenian and Kurdish people. The speech, which was delivered first in Armenian and then in Turkish, focused on the shared history of the two peoples and how cooperation based on mutual respect and understanding can be instrumental in today’s changing Middle East. After the address, the AYF representatives presented the BDP Youth Assembly members with a commemorative plaque. The following day, on Dec. 1, the delegation participated in a forum organized by the BDP Youth Assembly with representatives of all the invited organizations, during which a number of issues pertaining to socialist youth were discussed.
Two other high-level meetings between delegations representing the ARF and the BDP were held over the past few weeks in Washington and Istanbul, on Oct. 29 and Nov. 12, respectively. The Nov. 29 meeting was the first time since 1923 that an official ARF delegation visited Istanbul.
Turkey’s BDP, which was founded in 2008, has observer status in the Socialist International, and publicly urges the government of Turkey to recognize the Armenian Genocide.