OTTAWA, Canada—Hisyar Ozsoy, vice co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party of Turkey (HDP) and the party’s foreign affairs critic, discussed the current political situation in Turkey and the ongoing persecution of minorities at a series of community events in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa on June 10-12. The events were jointly organized by the Canadian Kurdish Federation (CKF) and the Armenian National Committee of Canada (ANCC).
At each event, Ozsoy spoke of the aftermath of the constitutional referendum and the ongoing uncertainty and concern regarding the rights and freedoms of the minorities living in Turkey today. He specifically stressed the importance of raising international awareness and ensuring that western powers categorically condemn Turkish President Recep Tayipp Erdogan’s misconducts and actively engage in empowering civil society in Turkey.
On June 12, Ozsoy met with Canadian Members of Parliament and various officials representing the Government of Canada at special meetings organized by Mr. Tom Kmiec, Member of Parliament (MP) for Calgary Shepard and chair of the Kurdish-Canadian Parliamentary Friendship Group. During the meetings, Ozsoy, accompanied by Mr. Abraham Niziblian, executive member of the ANCC, and Mr. Gurkan Ormangoren, co-chair of CKF, discussed Canada’s responsibility to protect human rights of minorities in Turkey.
“Times are difficult and challenging but we will survive despite all the hardships imposed by the Erdogan regime… 5000 members of my party are in prison today, and I will get arrested when I get back to Turkey as well. However, I refuse to hide in another country. I need to be there with my people. I still have work to do,” Ozsoy said in his Montreal speech.
“We highly appreciate and commend the unwavering commitment displayed by Mr. Ozsoy and his party in promoting tolerance and human rights for ethnic minorities in Turkey” said Raffi Donabedian, chair of the ANCC. “Our expectation is for our government and for the entire international community to become more engaged and actively pursue efforts to promote human rights and justice in Turkey, especially at a time when the current regime is descending into absolute autocracy,” added Donabedian.
Commenting on the events, Ormangoran noted that the mistreatment of the Kurdish minority and all other minorities in Turkey today has reached alarming levels. “Ozsoy’s appeal in Canada and elsewhere is more relevant than ever,” Ormangoran said.
Ozsoy is a ranking member of the HDP and a long-time activist for human rights issues in Turkey and around the world. Ozsoy was first elected as an MP from his hometown Bingol on June 7, 2015. He was re-elected on November 1, 2015.
Ozsoy is currently serves as the vice co-chair of the HDP, in charge of foreign affairs and a member of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. He is also a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE PA) and a substitute member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).