ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused “the Armenian lobby”, members of the gay community and journalists of conspiring with his political opponents to deny his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a landslide victory in Turkey’s upcoming parliamentary elections to be held on June 7, accusing them of supporting the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“The Armenian lobby, homosexuals and those who believe in ‘Alevism without Ali’ – all these representatives of sedition are [the HDP’s] benefactors,” Erdogan said during an address to citizens in the eastern province of Bingol on June 3, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.
Erdogan’s hopes to extend the AKP’s 12-year rule and gain even more sweeping powers through constitutional changes could be dashed by the pro-Kurdish HDP in Sunday’s elections. Observers say that the AKP party may well lose its parliamentary majority if the HDP clears a 10 percent vote threshold for being represented in Turkey’s parliament.
On Wednesday, RIA Novosti quoted Vice-President of the HDP Nazmi Gur as saying that the party will seek the soonest normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations and recognition of the Armenian Genocide if it succeeds in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
Erdogan has increasingly attacked the HDP on the campaign trail in recent weeks. He has accused Western and Turkish media critical of his government, other domestic critics as well as unnamed Armenian groups of helping the progressive Kurdish movement make a strong showing in the polls.
“Their biggest ally is [the Turkish group] Dogan Media. The Armenian lobby, homosexuals and those who believe in ‘Alevism without Ali’ — all these representatives of sedition are [the HDP’s] benefactors,” “Hurriyet Daily News” quoted him as saying during the campaign rally on Wednesday.
During another rally held on May 27, Erdogan similarly listed “the Armenian Diaspora” among forces which he said oppose Turkey’s transformation into a presidential republic headed by him. Three days later, he hit out at “The New York Times,” saying, according to “Hurriyet Daily News,” that the U.S. daily is “close to the Armenian lobby.”
No groups in Armenia and its worldwide Diaspora have publicly endorsed the HDP in the Turkish parliamentary race, even though it is the only major party in Turkey to have recognized the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire. The HDP leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has publicly called on the Turkish government to acknowledge that the 1915 slaughter of some 1.5 million Armenians constituted genocide.
The Erdogan government, just like the previous authorities in Ankara, vehemently denies that. In late April, Erdogan reiterated his view that the rulers of the crumbling Ottoman Empire were right to order mass deportations of Armenians.