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HDP’s Paylan says lack of Armenian parliamentary candidate is a shortcoming

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The sole Armenian member of the Turkish parliament, Garo Paylan, who will not be running for a seat in the legislature again, has described the lack of an Armenian parliamentary candidate as a shortcoming for Turkish democracy, the Kısa Dalga news website reported.

Paylan and the late Markar Esayan from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) were the first Armenian lawmakers in the Turkish parliament after decades of the absence of any representative from the minority group.

He was not nominated by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for the May 14 parliamentary elections due to an intra-party rule that limits lawmakers to two terms in the legislature.

“There is a great public demand for my candidacy, not only from the Armenian community but also from millions of people in Turkey who love me. But this demand has not been met. It is even worse that no other Armenian candidate has been nominated,” said Paylan.

Paylan was elected to parliament from the HDP, first from İstanbul in the general election of 2015 and then from Diyarbakır in 2018.

The fact that the two-term rule was applied to Paylan but not to all HDP lawmakers has led to criticism.

Paylan said he may be offended but will still continue to work for his party’s success in the elections.

The HDP, which faces a closure case, decided to run in the parliamentary elections under the banner of the Green Left Party (YSP) in a bid to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections.

Armenians, who have long lived in Anatolia, have an estimated population of 50,000 to 70,000, down from more than 2 million between the years 1914 and 1921.

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