Three Armenians Elected to Turkish Parliament

Turkey’s Ruling AKP Loses Majority in Parliament, HDP Receives 13 Percent of Votes

ISTANBUL, Turkey (A.W.)—About 86 percent of around 53 million eligible voters cast their ballots and elected 550 members to Turkey’s Parliament on June 7, among them Armenians Garapet (Garo) Paylan, who ran on the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) list; Markar Esayan from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP); and Selina Özuzun Doğan from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), reported Turkish media.

Selahattin Demirtaş told journalists gathered at the Istanbul offices of the HDP that the party now truly belonged to all of Turkey (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)
Selahattin Demirtaş told journalists gathered at the Istanbul offices of the HDP that the party now truly belonged to all of Turkey. (Photo: The Armenian Weekly)

AKP garnered around 41 percent of the votes (258 seats) in the parliamentary elections, based on data released by the state-run TRT. HDP broke the 10 percent barrier and received around 13 percent of the votes, gaining 80 seats in parliament, while CHP earned 25 percent (132 seats) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) 16 percent (80 seats).

As the results trickled in and it became clear that HDP had earned more than 10 percent of the votes, party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told journalists gathered at the Istanbul offices of the HDP that the party now truly belonged to all of Turkey.

HDP candidates and supporters, including party co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş (center) and Garo Paylan (right) at the HDP offices in Istanbul (Photo: Garo Paylan's Twitter page)
HDP candidates and supporters, including party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş (center) and Garo Paylan (right) at the HDP offices in Istanbul (Photo: Garo Paylan’s Twitter page)

Among HDP’s other Armenian candidates were Murad Mihçi and Filor Uluk Benli. HDP candidates also included Yezidis and Assyrians alongside Kurds. Moreover, 268 female candidates ran on the HDP list—the highest number among the political parties running for election.

HDP faired especially well in the southeast of the country. In the provinces of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Batman, Van, and Hakkari, the party received over 70 percent of the votes.

The AKP needed 367 seats in order to introduce the “new constitution,” an objective President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had talked about on many occasions. The new constitution would have turned Turkey from a parliamentary system into an executive presidency, giving the president more powers. The AKP’s support was down from the 50 percent (327 seats) it received in the 2011 elections.



    • Krikor Zohrab:
      “In 1908, following the revolution of the Young Turks, he became a member of parliament in the Ottoman Council”.
      Should we expect better results this time around?

  1. Congratulations!!! The first step is done. The advance forces won In Turkey!!! Everybody is happy and looking forward to your goood and right decisions. Sooner or later truth always wins. Nothing can stand againt people’s will.

  2. A step in the right direction. Erdogan’s attempt to gain absolute majority and change the constitution failed. Who knows what his next move will be. At least, he was humbled.
    HDP’s gain is a historic development. Now, we have to wait and see what impact, if any, they will have , especially in the area of protecting all the minorities in Turkey, not only Kurds.
    It will be interesting to see how the political scene will unfold, and what manoeuvres the AKP will play to form a government.
    Vart Adjemian

  3. Hello from Istanbul.

    One Armenian member of parliament is Garo Paylan, an HDP member, who, I think, will try really hard to make changes in Turkey’s denial of genocide. I trust him 100 percent.

    Another one is Selina Ozuzun Dogan, a CHP member. Her party is a bit cold towards ending the denial of genocide but she seems keen on making a change. She is also keen on improving the rights of oppressed groups, such as gays and lesbians. She seems to be a truly social democrat.

    Finally, there is Markar Esayan, an AKP member. He is disliked a lot by almost all left-wingers and many members of the Armenian community here. Especially in recent years, he has been an Erdogan fanatic. He even tried to defend one of Erdogan’s anti-Armenian expressions, by saying something like ‘Oh, he didn’t really mean that’, when it was 100 percent obvious that the word Erdogan used was racist. I expect almost nothing from him, regarding the genocide.

  4. Congratulations are in order to fellow Armenians who ran and won seats in the turkish parliament. No doubt with good intentions and high expectations.
    With the likes of davidoglu, however, whose preoccupation has been to lobby against the recognition of the Genocide of Armenians, and destroy what is left of Armenian communities in Syria and Iraq, it may be naive to believe that much can improve for Armenians or other Christian minorities there. And in fact for the Kurds and Yezidis.

  5. I am truly surprised and heartened with these results, I was sure that somehow Erdogan would get his majority. I am still not convinced that this is a genuine democratic shift but a bit of theatre to show the west that Turkey is truly an open society. The true test now will be to see if these HDP candidates are allowed to voice their wishes without intimidation or threats.

  6. Միամիտ Հայեր. this is erdogan’s new political tactic, to win Armenian votes. Once his ship gets to the ocean, he’s gonna sail it the way he wants it.

  7. This is good to hear, although I don’t know what kind of difference they can make, they are only three.

    It may be unpopular for me to say this, but in the back of my mind I was actually hoping that Erdogan would get all his wishes and gain complete power and turn Turkey into a fanatical brutal dictatorship. The reason I say this is 1. The majority genocide celebrating, fanatical people of Turkey deserve it. And 2. So does the USA and UK.

    In this way my view is that long term we as Armenians can make a lot more gains in this scenario than Turkey limping along as a quasi-democracy, but still fanatical and extremist as ever. Am I wrong to feel this way?


  9. I am not excited at all!!! Do we remember?? after sultan Hamid was brought down there were 2 Armenians in the parliament. and we all know both were assassinated by the orders of the Turkish government.
    Արթուն ըլլանք եւ չգինովնանք: Ով գիտէ ինչ չար նպատակի համար այս խաղը կը խաղան:

  10. I read the 14 comments (to date) several times.
    It is a little disappointing to see so may Armenians who think this is a positive development for Armenians or some kind of great achievement.
    Nothing could be further from truth.
    If there are Armenians who think anything good will come out of this for Armenians and our Cause, then they have failed to truly understand who and what (majority) of Turks are: they fail to understand how vile and unscrupulous world politics is.

    I agree with the comments of [Inyourface], [Hagop D], and [Janet Mouradian-Markarian]: glad to see at least some Armenians that clearly understand who and what we are dealing with.

    “Am I wrong to feel this way?”
    No, Hagop: you are not wrong.

    • 82% of the electorate voted for AKP, CHP, or MHP. All three proudly and vehemently deny the Armenian Genocide and I believe Armenians were made familiar with the MHP’s armed youth wing the Grey Wolves during the early 1990s.

      I have stated several times when articles were posted on this site on HDP (and its predecessor party) or the Kurdish issue, that I would not vote for a party that openly aligns itself with a terrorist organization or its leaders. The links between HDP and the PKK are still clear, yet there I was at the Turkish consulate in Miami two weeks ago voting for them. They’re pro-Armenian genocide recognition, pro-Christian minority, pro-Alevi, pro-feminist, pro-LGBT, pro-environment, favor social welfare, secular. Sure, they have some unrealistic ideals like direct democracy and ending capitalism, but they claim to be a party for every single citizen in Turkey. Maybe it’s a result of more than a decade of authoritarian Islamist rule that’s made me desperate to believe in something and someone (like Selahattin Demirtas), but I believe them.

      Unfortunately, 13% of the vote and 80/550 seats isn’t going to be enough. Some have called this a “start,” but for there to be a start there has to be an endgame. 60% of Turkey is either pro-Islamist or pro-Ultranationalist. The 30% or so Turkish liberals are also Kemalist and nationalist. That leaves 10% (or in this case 13%) to the Kurds and HDP, the only, true, liberal party in Turkey. What are we left with? Kurds saving Turkey from itself? How the tables have turned.

      It’s to early to say what happens next or what these results mean. But it won’t end well, at least not for us liberal Turks that aren’t afraid to confront our murderous past and don’t believe in the magic man in the sky or his Arab messenger.

    • RVDV:

      Thanks for the dose of a reality for my starry-eyed compatriots.
      Coming from a Turk who knows Turkey much, much batter than I do, it may make a more lasting impression than my diatribe.
      I know how you feel about Turkey: it must be difficult to talk about all the ugly things therein.

      Myself, and I am sure many Armenian readers of ArmenianWeekly, appreciate your honesty.

  11. This is just an eyewash.A puff of smoke. We had many more members( martyrs) in a turkish parliament in 1913. Good luck to them in their personal careers as politicians in the corrupt and arcane recesses of turkish politics; but don’t hold your breath there will be Zero benefits for Armenia, or Armenians. Whatever happened to Machupyan ? He let his tongue loose, regarding the word genocide, in the frame of legal context and he was made to gallop into the pages of history the following day. As for the Kurds trumpeting the cause of the Genocide it fits well with their agenda in the struggle for greater autonomy/independence from Turkey. Armenians are like another arrow in the quiver in their crucible with Turkey.

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