Christian minority finds its voice in Parliament with elections

Members of Turkeyand’s small Christian community have now won four seats in Parliament from various political parties as a result of Sundayand’s general election, bringing a new era of minority representation for the country.
The Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP), whose campaign platform for the general election focused on representing the oppressed citizens of Turkey, will have Garo Paylan, of Armenian descent, holding one of their seats in Parliament. The party is known for their pro-Kurdish stance but included people of many different backgrounds, with Kurds, Turks, Yezidis and a large number of women in Sundayand’s election. Paylan was one of the founding members of the HDP and has often stated that he supports the partyand’s all-inclusive posture. Paylan has been an active member of the local Armenian community in Istanbul and has been serving on the boards of Armenian schools, most recently at the YeiilkandOy Armenian Grammar School. Further evidence of his activism with the Armenian community was shown when Paylan was one of the first people at the site and convinced construction workers to halt the demolition of the former Gedikpaia Armenian Protestant Church Foundationand’s orphanage, located in the outskirts of Istanbul.
Another candidate who was sure to get into Parliament was lawyer Selina andOzuzun Dogan, who was put in the first position for Istanbuland’s second region by the Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP). Dogan is also of Armenian descent and put a great deal of focus on womenand’s rights during her campaign.
Armenians are a minority in Turkey, making up an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 citizens out of the countryand’s population of 75 million.
Markar Esayan from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), who is a columnist at Yeni iafak and the Sabah daily — both of which are pro-government publications — is also of Armenian descent and made the parliamentary list as a candidate from Istanbuland’s second region. Esayan has engaged with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu and Istanbul Mayor Kadir Topbai for the return of the orphanage to the Armenian foundation, which was seized by the government in the 1980s by way of discriminatory laws against minority groups. Esayan previously wrote for the Taraf daily and the Armenian Agos weekly, and received his masterand’s degree from Istanbul Bilgi University, writing a thesis titled and”The clash of classes, the birth of the bourgeoisie and modernity in 18th century Armenian realistic literature.and”
Veteran HDP deputy Erol Dora, who was the first Syriac parliamentarian in 2011, will be keeping his seat. andOzcan Purandcu of the CHP will be the first Roma representative in Parliament.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman