Presidential Campaign Reference to Armenians in Turkey

Turkish presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas (HDP) gave a campaign speech to Turkish voters in Germany on 19 July. He addressed the crowd on a central square in the Western German city of Cologne. In a subsequent interview with the leading German weekly ‘Die Zeit’, Demirtas affirmed: “ We believe that liberties need to be defended and preserved, the liberties of all people, whether Jews, Armenians, Yezidi, conservatives, women who wear a headscarf, or Kemalists.” The left-leaning candidate did not explain in greater detail his views on how to integrate Armenians into Turkish society.

This is the first time a Turkish politician has made a clear reference to Armenians during a political speech in Germany. At the beginning of June, Kemal Kilicdaroglu of the leading opposition party CHP delivered a speech to a Turkish audience in Essen to promote the opposition candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. On the same trip, the Armenian community of Cologne refused to meet with Kilicdaroglu, Armenpress reports. Current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AKP), who leads in the opinion polls for the upcoming election, visited Germany already in May for this purpose. More than 1.5 million Turks in Germany are eligible to vote in the 10 August ballot.