The left and Turkey: Looking back and forward

The Left, the working group of international activists of DIE LINKE Berlin, took the upcoming Turkish Parliamentary elections of June 7 to look both back at the Armenian Genocide, 100 years ago and to look at the elections in more detail. Activists from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Turkish leftwing party HDP discussed the past and future of the region during a packed meeting with international activists from a dozen countries.

The Left meeting on Turkey, with activists from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Turkish leftwing party HDP.
The Left meeting on Turkey, with activists from Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and the Turkish leftwing party HDP.

Armenian activist Ani Chakaryan discussed the Armenian genocide, that started in 1915 and that took the lives of an estimated 1.5 million Armenians, then living in the Ottoman Empire. The Armenian genocide, that saw the introduction of the word genocide, is seen as one of the earliest ethnic cleansing and murder operations. It was meticulously planned and started with attacks on intellectuals in Istanbul followed by a campaign of forced expulsion in mostly eastern regions of the Ottoman Empire. Men and boys were often separated from women and girls, some women and girls were hidden by locals but most perished or fled. The Armenian genocide is still a very controversial topic in current Turkish and regional politics. Andranik Aslanyan discussed with the participants the current situation of Nagorno-Karabakh, where mostly Armenian peoples live in de-facto independence from Azerbaijan. It is a conflict that still sees yearly casualties and is far from being resolved. Because of Turkey’s complicated history, the current rise of the multi-ethnic HDP is very interesting. The left-wing party is currently polled to enter the Turkish parliament in the upcoming elections, despite the 10% hurdle. The party founded in 2012 as an alliance of Kurdish and other ethnic minority activists, trade unions, Gesi-park protesters and feminists is a very interesting politic project. Erkin Erdogan, of the very active Berlin branch of the HDP says that the HDP specifically challenges the mentality engrained in the Turkish politics that wants to build a ethnic Turkish state. HDP in contrast offers an alternative of a multi-ethnic and federal democratic Turkey. With the prospect of the HDP entering parliament, voters in the elections not living in Turkey could be decisive for a HDP succes. Voters living in Germany have until May the 23th to cast there vote in one of the German voting stations for the Turkish elections. We wish the HDP activist all the best of luck with the last election activities. DIE LINKE is supporting the HDP election campaign.

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