A delegation led by the European Armenian Federation for Justice and Democracy (EAFJD) was invited by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP, Halklarin Demokratik Partisi) to serve as a short-term observation mission to the parliamentary elections in Turkey on June 7.
The delegation was comprised of Kaspar Karampetian (president, EAFJD), Bedo Kurkjian-Demirdjian (PR and communication director, EAFJD), Vera Yacoubian (executive director, Armenian National Committee of the Middle East), Peter Petrossian (chairman, Armenian National Committee of Belgium), and George Aghjayan (member, Armenian National Committee of America, Eastern Region).
In a statement issued in May, the EAFJD supported the HDP and called on the Turkish citizens of Europe to vote in favor of HDP, taking into consideration the party’s inclusiveness of minorities and their rights, promotion of open democracy, and challenge to Erdogan’s autocratic aspirations.
Prior to the June 7 election, the EAFJD delegation was briefed by the HDP on the legal and illegal difficulties the party has faced recently, including attacks, intimidation, and smear campaigns. HDP’s co-president, Selahattin Demirtas, was personally targeted by the ruling AK Party for “collaborating” with the Armenian Diaspora.
On election day, the EAFJD-led delegation visited a number of electoral districts and centers, and noted the irregularities and difficulties that opposition parties, in general, and the HDP, in particular, faced. The findings of the delegation will be published in an upcoming report.
After the ballots were cast, the delegation followed the election results at the HDP Istanbul Central Office, where many voters assembled to celebrate the victory. The delegation was also present at the press conference given by HDP co-presidents Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas.
Three Armenians—Garo Paylan (HDP), Markar Esayan (AKP), and Selina Ozuzun Dogan (CHP)—were elected to the Turkish Parliament, becoming the first Armenians to enter parliament since 1961.
Karampetian, the president of EAFJD, welcomed the results of the elections. “We are happy that 3 Armenians are elected to the parliament, and at the same time we are pleased that HDP could exceed the threshold of 10 percent that would allow them to enter the parliament with an unprecedented representation,” said Karampetian, adding, “We have already stated that a HDP parliamentary group in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey would mean the presence of a party that will struggle for freedom, equality, peace, and justice.”