Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Turkey’s Armenian MP Garo Paylan: I want “new world” founded on equality

We need more MPs like Garo Paylan both in Turkey and Armenia, and beyond. The world, and the world of politics, will be a better place with them.

Highly recommend this interview by Armenian Weekly’s Nanore Barsoumian with the newly elected ethnic Armenian MP of the Turkey parliament from progressive LGBT-friendly HDP party.

*Garo Paylan (Photo: Nanore Barsoumian)

Selected extracts below /emphasis mine/:

“Three weeks after his election into Turkey’s Parliament on the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) list, Garo Paylan spoke to the Armenian Weekly about his path to parliament, and the challenges of being an Armenian in Turkey’s political scene.

During the interview conducted in Istanbul, Paylan also discussed issues that are close to his heart, including the HDP’s politics and commitment to creating what he terms a “new world” founded on equality.”

Says Garo Paylan: “Turkish citizens want the change—so they will vote for whoever speaks the new language for them. We wanted equality, and they heard us. It’s the radical democrats that for the first time are offering equality. We are radical democrats and we have everyone sitting at our table. This is why we have to struggle for LGBT rights, for the Armenians, the Kurds, and the Alevis. We have to offer equality to every identity.

Of course, we had some concerns. For instance, we were concerned that people were not ready to hear about the Armenian Genocide. Yet, we are vocal about the Armenian Genocide. We also support LGBT rights, and equality between men and women—everything that is considered radical about democracy. This is about [creating] a new world.”

“The AKP thought that insulting Armenians will gain them the Muslim votes, but it didn’t work. They tried to spotlight the fact that we had an LGBT candidate, thinking that it would affect the conservative vote, but it didn’t. There were other similar attempts, but they also failed. This is important. Our words won. We trust our words. This is what’s most important.”

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