In an exclusive interview with Agos, Garo Paylan speaks about the recent parliamentary election in Turkey, the future of the peace process, and the problems of Armenian community.
According to unofficial results, Garo Paylan was elected to parliament as the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) representative for Istanbul. He answered the questions of Agos’ chief editor, Yetvart Danzikyan.
“The moment the peace process was ended, the sides were rearranged”
Assessing the HDP’s reaction to the decline in their votes, Garo Paylan said, “Our expectation was higher. In the local elections in 2014, we received 2,900,000 votes. Just in a year, our votes have doubled. However, the moment the peace process was ended, the sides were rearranged and the polarization intensified. In such cases as this, new supporters get naturally confused. When the statements got harsh, people began to be worried. We see that the voters distanced themselves from us.”
HDP’s votes declined all around Turkey and Paylan assessed HDP’s position in Kurdish region, saying that, “people are more tired there. The peace was so close, but then the negotiations ended abruptly. The state used all of its apparatuses to increase AKP’s votes. It is said that they cannot talk about peace if there is only HDP. We also say this. Other political parties should be involved in this process, but there must be people who want peace. We hope that AKP [parliament members] in the region will focus on the peace.”
“AKP should use its power for peace again”
Evaluating the future of the peace process, Garo Paylan said, “AKP is able to convince its supporters to [do] almost anything. Two years ago, when they said that they want to stop the tears, their supporters didn’t react. When they ended the process, again, none of their supporters reacted. We want AKP to use its power for peace, for parliament again. We continue to challenge them through democratic politics.”
“Our key phrase is constructive opposition”
Garo Paylan, as an Armenian parliament member, said that he will also speak for the Armenian community and the problems it faces. “Like many other issues, [the] Armenian Question is thrown aside. In this term, our key phrase is constructive opposition. We have issues like foundation elections, patriarchal election and problem of status, and I have bills for these issues. We held some talks before the election and we continue to work now that the election is over.”
Watch the full interview (in Turkish) here.