Gains for Kurds, Armenians in Turkish elections

Thousands of jubilant Kurds flooded the streets of Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey, on June 7, setting off fireworks and waving flags as election results showed the pro-Kurdish opposition likely to enter parliament for the first time. Initial results show the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) taking 80 of 550 seats—a major setback for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose AK Party is poised to lose its majority. Erdogan had been counting on the AKP majority to push through constitutional changes giving him broad executive powers. The elections also brought three Armenians to the Turkish parliament after a lapse of several years—one from the HDP, one from the AKP, and one from the Republican People's Party (CHP). Two members of Turkey's small Yazidi community were also elected on  the HDP ticket.

The European Parliament adopted a resolution last month urging Turkey to recognize the Armenian genocide. Erdogan's administration pledged to disregard the resolution—the third passed by the Europarliament urging Turkish recognition of the genocide. (Hurriyet Daily News, MassisPost, Armenian Weekly, The Guardian, June 7; NYT, April 15)

The electoral gains for the HDP come despite a wave of terror attacks against the party.

  1. HDP tilt to Assad?

    We aren't sure how much credence to place in it, but Al Bawaba is reporting that an unnamed HDP leader gave an interview to "the pro-Hezbollah channel Al Manar," in which the party pledged support for the Lebanese Shiite militia. This is more bloggery than journalism, citing only a second-hand source, namely a tweet by one Fer Gunay. Al Bawaba adds that the HDP's "political position has been described at best as Assad-sympathetic." We aren't told who "describes" it that way.

    We appeal to the HDP for clarity on this, but we hope it isn't true. The revolutionary opposition in Syria manipulated into the Erdogan camp, while the left opposition in Turkey is manipulated into the Assad camp? Too, too frustrating.