Time in Yerevan: 11:07:36,   21 January

Diyarbakir people will warmly greet Garo Paylan: Selahettin Demirtas wishes success to ethnic Armenian lawmaker  

YEREVAN, JUNE 2, ARMENPRESS. Selahettin Demirtas, candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) nominated for the Turkish presidential election, continues his pre-election campaign despite being in jail since 2016.

He gave an interview to Istanbul-based Agos newspaper on his expectations from the election. He also commented on ethnic Armenian lawmaker Garo Paylan’s nomination in Diyarbakir for the parliamentary elections.

Demirtas said Garo corresponds to Diyarbakir, and Diyarbakir to Garo. He reminded that previously Diyarbakir has been a multiethnic, multicultural city. “But the 1915 Armenian Genocide and the events following it eliminated that uniqueness of Diyarbakir. Before 1980s Armenian families were living in Sur province. Even during my childhood years Armenians were living here. But the pressures and violence of 80-90s forced the “last Armenians” to leave the country. It was an extremely tragic phenomenon. Armenians in Diyarbakir are not guests, they are locals. Garo’s nomination in Diyarbakir in this sense is a wise response to that painful history. I am confident that the residents of Diyarbakir will support and greet Garo warmly with that historical consciousness. Besides, Garo is not a foreigner in Diyarbakir. I believe he will establish very good relations with the local youth and will have a good representation there. I wish him success”, the jailed presidential candidate said.

Selahettin Demirtas also talked about the difficulties on carrying out a pre-election campaign in the conditions of being jailed, stating that even making one note in social networks is a result of a very long and difficult process. “The main reason of the judicial proceedings launched against the Peoples’ Democratic Party is the victory in the June 7, 2015 elections. From that day up to now thousands of party members are being systematically arrested or withdrawn from politics. And I am being held captive within the frames of these proceedings”, he said, adding that this is not a result of a court decision, but a political persecution.

Garo Paylan has been nominated from the HDP in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

HDP lawmaker Garo Paylan always raises issues of concern of the Armenian community. He is famous for his courageous speeches at the Turkish Parliament during which he repeatedly talks about the Armenian Genocide calling on the authorities to face with their own history and accept their own crime. The lawmaker even submitted a respective proposal which suggested to officially recognize the 1915 events as genocide. But the proposal was rejected. An investigation has been launched against the lawmaker under the Article 301 of the Penal Code. Within the scope of the investigation a request was made to deprive him of immunity.

Turkey will hold snap parliamentary and presidential elections on June 24. After the elections the country will transition to a presidential system from the current parliamentary one.

English – translator/editor: Aneta Harutyunyan


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