ISTANBUL—Hamshen Armenians of northeastern Turkey are gearing up to create their own political party, reported Hurrieyet Daily news. The move came after all seven Turkish-Armenians who ran for seats in parliament were left behind on the ballots by the main political parties, including the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
Ismet Şahin, a Hamshenite and a former deputy candidate from Istanbul’s second region who ran as a member of BDP was one of the seven left behind. Now he has voiced his intention to form a new party whose name will be announced after the general elections on June 12.
“We will become a party that produces global solutions for societal problems and protects the general interests of all oppressed people. Our party will remain completely outside the left-right paradigm,” Şahin told Hürriyet Daily News.
“It would have been naive to expect positive results. The AKP still uses the Armenian identity as a form of curse in tete a tete debates,” said Şahin. “The presence of even a single Armenian deputy in parliament would remind Turkey of its history; it would force Turkey to face up to its own history. Turkey does not have the courage to face up to its history.”
According to Hurriyet, Şahin also accused the AKP and CHP of nationalism, and noted that Armenians in Istanbul are marginalized.
“The BDP presents the Kurds and Turks as brothers in arms that fought against common enemies to protect the Republic, with the aim of gaining recognition from the state. The BDP is getting corrupt. Instead of aligning itself with other oppressed peoples, the BDP chose to go for an exclusively Kurdish constituency. In the past they had announced their support for me because I was from within the party and because I am a Hamshenite,” said Şahin.
“In recent years, more and more people have begun claiming they are discovering their Armenian identity, and I do not find this sincere. Hamshenites have always identified themselves as Hamshenites. If you ask whether they are Turks, you would elicit a negative response. If you ask whether they are Armenians, again you would elicit a negative response. They would only tell you they are Hamshenites,” said Şahin.