Turkey’s main opposition fields Roma politician as MP candidate
İZMİR - Doğan News Agency
Özcan PurçuThe main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has fielded a Roma politician as its candidate from a western Turkish province for the upcoming general elections, marking a “milestone” for the Roma community in both Turkey and Europe.
Özcan Purçu, a 37-year-old politician from the İzmir province, was nominated by the CHP as the fifth candidate in the first district of the neighboring province of İzmir on April 7.
Purçu was also nominated by the CHP in the 2011 general elections, but he did not manage to get elected as he was the 11th candidate in the second district list. The higher rank that he has been nominated for in the June 7, 2015 elections means that his election has almost been guaranteed, considering the local voting base and recent polls.
If elected Purçu will become the first ever deputy to be elected from Turkey’s Roma community, and only the third in Europe.
“This is a milestone for the Roma community. [CHP chair Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu has corrected an error of Turkey. We have never seen just representation, so this is a real Roma opening,” Purçu told Doğan News Agency.
The CHP candidate vowed to focus on improving the conditions of “the poor and those who face discrimination, prejudice or violence.”
He added that his second child, a girl, was scheduled to be born on April 8.
“We will name her Müjde [‘good news’ in Turkish],” Purçu said.