CHP visited Fener Greek, Turkish Armenian Patriarchies

VERCİHAN ZİFLİOĞLU
ISTANBUL – HURRIYET DAILY NEWS
10/5/2011

The Republican People’s Party, or CHP, Deputy President, Osman Korutürk pay a visit to Fener Greek and Armenian patriarchies of Turkey. His visit to Armenian Patriarchy of Turkey took longer than anticipated. On the matter of the Armenian deputy who had declared candidacy from CHP yet been excluded out of the list, Korutürk said, ‘We do not separate people according to their ethnic identities, 4,300 people applied’ 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 Patriarchy and the Armenian Patriarchy of Turkey on Monday.

While the officials’ visit to Fener Greek Patriarchy took half an hour, their visit to the Armenians Patriarchy 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.

Answering the questions of Hürriyet Daily News 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 why Arev Cebeci putting candidacy from CHP on behalf of the Armenian community could not be elected, 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 administration of CHP and local levels.”

Explaining why the visit to the Armenian Patriarchy of Turkey took a longer span of time, 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.”

Saying that minorities are crucial for CHP, Korutürk said they stand by all of the rights recognized to minorities within the frame of Lozan Treaty.

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

Despite that 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.

Another participant in the meeting, Apik Özfırıncı, said the visit was part of the election campaign in Turkey and the patriarchate had demonstrated its hospitality.

“As we stated earlier, we listen to both sides and our doors are wide open to both of them. The decision will undoubtedly stem from the ballot box,” said Hrant Hasbaşyan whose affinity with the ruling AKP is well known due to the Turkish-Armenian community’s gains on issues relating to minority foundations.

Bedros Şirinoğlu, the president of the Yedikule Surp Pırgiç Hospital Foundation, which ranks in second place in the protocol following the patriarchate, did not attend the meeting. Şirinoğlu, who is also known for his disposition toward the AKP, had told Daily News in a previous interview that he was ready to serve as a parliamentarian, if he was offered a position.

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