09 June 2007

1739) Who Should Armenians Vote For?

Turkish Armenian Patriarch Mesrob Mutafyan told Germany-based Der Spiegel magazine he would vote for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

His announcement sparked nationwide debate, and some circles and columnists upset by the announcement argued that Armenians should be aligned with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and vote for them.

Although it is unclear whether Mesrob II will really vote for the AK Party or was simply trying to avoid conflict with the leading party, it’s certain that his statement conflicted with some of the settled views in the country. According to these views, a Christian Armenian should support and vote for the pro-laicist CHP instead of the pro-religious AK Party. Islam is considered a rival to Christianity. Hence Christians or any other minority group should naturally be closer to a laicist party.

But in reality, this view does not hold true in Turkey because laicism in our country does not allow religious freedom; especially the CHP’s understanding of laicism, which is identical to positivism.

In Western democracies, people from different religious and ethnic groups usually support social democrats because these parties are less conservative and more respectful toward religious freedoms. Minority rights and freedom of religion is fundamental to them. They are strong advocates of freedoms, including religious freedom.

In Turkey however, social democrats favor restrictions and limitations. They favor the republic more than democracy, but they don’t trust the leader of the republic too much. They believe the military can resolve all problems and perceive both minorities and majorities as potential threats to the nation.

The CHP has embraced a Jacobin culture since they day of its founding. It is a party that imposes and determines. After a columnist suggested Armenians should vote for the CHP, they said “Turkey is a laicist state, a religious man should not interfere in politics,” and applied to a prosecutor’s office. History has no records of the CHP’s efforts to expand freedoms, democracy and human rights. Westernization for the CHP means laicism, which is the only concern of the CHP, and laicism for CHP means pushing religion out of social life, instead of incorporating it.

The CHP is an anti-EU, anti-globalization, anti-development, anti-social values and anti-rights social democrat party. Throughout history conservative groups have never been disturbed by minority groups, and as for the attacks against non-Muslims in recent years, it is certain that the source behind them is different. A Muslim with a religious education knows they must protect the rights, life and possessions of different religious members living in their country.

That said, why should any minority group in Turkey vote for the CHP?

09.06.2007
MEHMET KAMIS m.kamis@todayszaman.com

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