Turkey’s Christian minority sends four deputies to parliament
Selina Dogan Ozuzun (R), an Armenian candidate for the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), chats with a CHP supporter during an election rally for Turkey's June 7 parliamentary election, in Istanbul, Turkey, June 2, 2015. REUTERS PhotoTurkey’s Christian minority will be represented in the Turkish parliament in greater number after a long absence as four members of the community will become deputies after the June 7 elections.
The results of the parliamentary election, one of the most critical and closely fought in years, ended the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 13-year one-party rule, while also propelling four members of the Christian minority to the legislature.
Markar Esayan, an Armenian-Turkish journalist for the pro-AKP daily Yeni Şafak, entered the parliament on an AKP ticket as the 12th candidate from Istanbul’s second election area.
Selina Doğan, from the Republican People’s Party (CHP), was elected as the first deputy candidate from the second election area of the CHP’s Istanbul list. Doğan, who is of Armenian origin, practices law as an attorney.
CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said while introducing Doğan as a candidate that her candidacy was an important message for the world.
“We do not want division in this society. We want to grow and develop together,” Kılıçdaroğlu said in early April.
Two Christians will also enter parliament from the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) ticket, one from Istanbul and the other from the southeastern province of Mardin.
Garo Paylan, who ran for parliament as the second nominee from the HDP’s third election area in Istanbul, holds Armenian roots and is listed as a trainer on the Supreme Election Board (YSK) candidate list.
Erol Dora, who is a member of Turkey’s Syriac community and a lawyer, was the HDP’s third deputy candidate from Mardin and an incumbent in the legislature.
In addition to the four Christians, two members of Turkey’s small Yazidi community were also elected for the HDP – Feleknas Uca from Diyarbakır and Ali Atalan from Batman.