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If Turkey is a Mosaic, Why Aren’t There Any Armenian Parliamentarians?

The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, Deputy President and Foreign Politics Representative Osman Korutürk and General Secretary Bihlun Tamaylıgil paid a visit to Fener Greek Patriarchate and the Armenian Patriarchate of Constantinople on Monday, reports the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

While the officials’ visit to Fener Greek Patriarchate took half an hour, their visit to the Armenians Patriarchate of Turkey took approximately an hour and half. They were met by the Acting Patriarch Archishop Aram Ateşyan at the Turkish Armenian Patriarchy and the meeting was held closed to the press.

Responding to the Hürriyet’s questions after the meeting, Korutürk, touching upon the incidents of 1915, said: “Both of the sides experienced agonies, it would be unjust to say they are one-sided. As two rival parties, the CHP, and Justice and Development Party, or AKP, we brought on the agenda the proposal of establishing a history commission. Nevertheless, the proposal was not approved in Armenia.”

Answering the question of why Turkish citizen of Armenian descent Arev Cebeci was not elected on the CHP’s list, Korutürk said they do not separate people according to their identities. “More than 4,300 people applied and 550 of them won. We do not have an Armenian deputy in Parliament on behalf of our party. However, we have Armenian-origin citizens taking positions in the CHP administration and on local levels.”

Explaining why the visit to the Armenian Patriarchy of Turkey took longer, Korutürk said: “They had a long agenda to discuss. We have comprehensive projects, family insurance, agriculture projects and economic projects. These projects would change the country throughout.”

One of the presidents of the Istanbul Armenian Foundation, Bedros Marzubanyan, present at the meeting said CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s recent statements upset the Armenian community. “Some people said Kılıçdaroğlu’s mother is an Armenian from Dersim and he tried to prove his mother is not Armenian. I would like to ask him whether being Armenian is really such a bad thing after all.”

Despite this, they are welcome as the door is open to everybody, said Marzubanyan. “CHP is the closest rival of the government. Therefore, learning their opinions is to our advantage,” he said.

“There should have been at least two Armenian parliamentarians both in government and in the opposition. It is said on each occasion Turkey is a mosaic. If the parliament is a place where this mosaic is represented, and that is the case, as far as I know, then the pieces missing from the mosaic must be completed. We have deputy mayors and village headmen, but now we want to send a representative to parliament,” said Marzubanyan, who highlighted the fact that the 50,000-strong Armenians in Turkey did not have a single representative in parliament.