Elections have turned out to be more meaningful for us with the nomination of Baskın Oran as an independent candidate in İstanbul 2nd District, the region that includes the Bayrampaşa, Beşiktaş, Beyoğlu, Eminönü, Eyüp, Fatih, Gaziosmanpaşa, Kağıthane, Sarıyer, Şişli and Zeytinburnu neighbourhoods.
We certainly think of elections on a Turkey basis of and pay heed to the support of not only Armenians, but all democrats. Therefore, our mental exercises cover this entire public. However, it is obvious that Armenians are experiencing a more particular situation in this period. Perhaps it is possible to regard Alevis as the most similar segment. Because the traditional voting tendencies of the Alevis have cracked with recent developments. AKP´s nomination of leading Alevis such as Reha Çamuroğlu is not the only reason for this crack. Alevis now recognize that the CHP, which they have been supporting in line with their historical tendencies and experiences, is not a leftist party, that its democratic attitude is insincere, and it has turned into a pretentious party that only pumps the fears related to secularism and sharia. On the other hand, the actions of the AKP aimed at breaking the mould, as a party that is presumed to act insensitively and even hostile towards Alevis due to its leaning on an Islamist, religious Sunni base, lead Alevis to the point of making a decision. Alevis constitute a sensitive electoral body that is well-educated, committed to the secular order and modern life, and suffering from centuries-long oppression. Actually, the “crack” mentioned above is just one of the requirements of democracy. It is an archaic attitude to regard Alevis as a block store of votes as if they were a single person. Therefore, the tendency of Alevis and Armenians towards AKP does not conflict with the fact that they acted in an opposite way in the past. Because we have a quite different reality of Turkey today compared to yesterday. It is a result of democratic sensitivity that electoral bodies might change their tendencies, or “entrust” their votes – at least for the sake of democracy – to the parties which they would not consider in the past.
However, there is another reality: Even though the AKP has had a good performance as a government during its reign of 4,5 years and also proved its understanding of criticisms by replacing 100 deputy candidates with women and persons from the left and liberal segments, many people still cannot “justify” voting for this party. It is not realistic to ignore this fact. Therefore, the nomination of Baskın Oran and Ufuk Uras has served as a remedy for many. Because both names are “proper persons” whom we have longed for and who have proved themselves. Undoubtedly, it is sad that not a single Armenian candidate has been nominated in the election – at least in the electable ranks of the lists. It is somewhat possible to relate this aspect to the defensive attitude that emerged after the assassination of Hrant. One cannot help thinking what a great loss Turkey has incurred with Hrant´s assassination. Because our biggest dream was to see Hrant in Parliament one day. The best answer to those who deprived us of our dream is to carry Baskın Oran to Parliament in this election, and to show more active participation as a community in the next elections.
As I wrote the previous week, some Armenians may believe that it is a luxury or risky for us to be interested in elections in a period when Hrant Dink has been killed, Christians were murdered in Malatya, and Kurdish youngsters were attempted to be lynched in Sakarya. Actually, if you reflect on it for a while, you will realize that this way of thinking is a sign of the opinion “Hrant would not have been killed if he had not spoken, or if Agos had not written.” Let us correct a misunderstanding: We are not responsible of the terrible experiences we have gone through. The criterion of humane living cannot be to keep silent, or to withdraw into one´s own world. The Armenian community in Turkey never deserved any of the injustices they have experienced so far. We will not have created a safer Turkey by retiring into ourselves. It will only make our exhaustion silent and quick, that´s all.