First Time Since WWI an Assyrian Has Been Elected in the Turkish Parliament

6/14/2011 1:35:00 PM

Rudaw -- The Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Prime Minister Receb Tayyib Erdogan won the majority of votes in Turkey’s elections on Sunday. Fifteen parties ran in the parliamentary elections where PM’s AKP party secured a third term in office. AKP’s parliamentary seats however, went down from 341 in the 2007 elections to 326 and this is short of the two-thirds of total seats that AKP needs to have a super majority.

In a victory speech to thousands of his supports in the capital Ankara, PM Erdoan said that, "People gave us a message to build the new constitution through consensus and negotiation. We will discuss the new constitution with opposition parties. This new constitution will meet peace and justice demands." To draft a new constitution Mr. Erdogan will certainly need the support of deputies from outside his party since AKP did not win the total of 330 seats needed to amend the constitution without consulting the opposition or holding a referendum.

The Republican People’s Party (CHP) came in second place and won 135 seats--a rise from the 112 it held in the last parliament.

Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lost a considerable number of votes. Its parliamentary seats were reduced from 71 to only 54. Independent Kurdish candidates supported by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) did very well and secured 35 seats.

Prime Minister Erdogan may seek the support of the Kurdish deputies to fulfil the changes he has promised.

The head of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu was also considered a winner. His party managed to secure 26% of the votes from only 20% in the last elections.

The independent Kurdish candidates also surprised everyone by winning 5.9% of the total votes of the entire country.

Most Kurdish cities except Dersim, succeeded in electing at least a deputy for Turkey’s next Grand National Assembly.

Also in all Kurdish areas save for Mus, Sert, Batman and Igdir, the rate of Kurdish votes went up dramatically in comparison to all previous elections. In Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city the Kurds won 3 seats where in the last elections they got only one.

One other victory for the Kurdish bloc was that six imprisoned candidates were elected for the next parliament. They were: Hetice Dicle, Selma Irmak, Kemal Aktas, Feysal Yidlz, Ibrahim Ayhan and Gulser Yidirim. By winning 85,945 votes, Hetice Dicle, the jailed candidate from Diyarbekir won more votes than any other Kurdish candidate.

In Sunday’s elections, Erol Dora, an Assyrian candidate from Mardin city was elected and this is the first time an Assyrian reaches the Turkish parliament. Ahmet Turk, the prominent Kurdish politician from Turkey who was a candidate from Mardin, voted for Erol Dora.

Hamit Geylani, the head of the Peace Democracy Party (BDP) told Rudaw, "despite all the challenges we were successful."

Regarding the city of Dersim where the Kurds didn’t win any seats, Geylani said that it was unexpected. "But we didn’t expect to win any seats from Bingol either," said Geylani.