By Hambersom Aghbashian

Ertuğrul Kürkçü (born 5 May1948 in Bursa-Turkey) is a Turkish politician, socialist activist and the current Honorary President of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as of 22 June 2014. He previously served as the chairman of the HDP between October 2013 and June 2014 alongside chairwoman Sebahat Tuncel. He was elected as an Independent Member of Parliament for Mersin in the 2011 general election. In 1972, Kürkçü was involved in an operation against two NATO technicians and was tried under Martial Law and sentenced to death, but an amnesty law in 1974 commuted his sentence to 30 years. He had spent 14 years in prison and after his release, he continued his political life in the Freedom and solidarity Part (ÖDP), then became a founding member of several smaller Socialist or Communist parties. In March 1997, Kürkçü was sentenced to 10 months in prison for translating a book named ‘War and People: the Arms Trade in Turkey and the violation of Arms Laws’ into Turkish. Following an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, the Turkish government were ordered to pay €2,500 in damages. between 2002 and 2007, he wrote for the Political Gazette and for numerous political party publications. In Parliament, he was part of the Human Rights Investigation Committee and was also a writer for the online new site bianet. His selected works are “Following the Rebellion (İsyanın İzinde), November 2013”, and “Practical Minds and the Theory’s Excitement (Pratiğin Aklı Teorinin Heyecanı), May 2014.”

Ertuğrul Kürkçü was one of the 200 prominent Turkish intellectuals who, In December 2008, released an apology for the “great catastrophe of 1915”. The term “great catastrophe of 1915”, was a clear reference to the Armenian Genocide which was planned and executed by the Ottoman empire during WWI. The text of the apology was “My conscience does not accept the insensitivity showed to and the denial of the Great Catastrophe that the Ottoman Armenians were subjected to in 1915. I reject this injustice and for my share, I empathize with the feelings and pain of my Armenian brothers and sisters”.(1)

According to www.kurdishinfo.com, April 26, 2015, “On the occasion of the 98th year of the beginning of Medz Yegern, BDP deputy Ertuğrul Kürkçü spoke at the European Parliament,” he said: “In Istanbul, on 24 April 1915, 240 Armenian opinion leaders, including parliamentary deputies were arrested under orders by the then ruling İttihad ve Terakki Party government. Shortly the number of arrests reached (2345), of whom (761) lost their lives in Central Anatolia where they were deported without any legal prosecution and court decision.This was the prelude to the forcible deportation of Armenian subjects of the Empire to the deserts of Syria, under the irrelevant pretext of counter-insurgency measures and first world war necessities. The defenseless convoys of women, children and elderly ended up nowhere, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were annihilated, finally depriving Eastern Anatolia from one of its autochthonous peoples, leading to the devastation of dozens of cities and towns which lost their essential human resources, productive powers…I would like to express our condolences in the name of our group to the grandsons and granddaughters of the victims.”(2)

In May 7, 2015, under the headline “Ertuğrul Kürkçü: HDP will become the third power”, DIHA (www.diclehaber.com) wrote about ideas and thoughts expressed by Kürkçü in a parliamentary group meeting about different issues, among them Dersim issue and the Armenian Genocide. The source mentioned that “Kürkçü also talked about the killing of 70 thousand Alevi and Kurdish people in Dersim in 1938 as part of a Turkification process, and said this mass killing deserves to be called a genocide according to the definition of the term. Kurkcu said it must be accepted as a genocide next to Armenian genocide and the state and the people at all levels must face the history truly in order to develop a common culture of living together. (3)

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1 – http://www.armeniapedia.org/index.php?title=200_prominent_Turks_apologize_for_great_
2 – http://www.kurdishinfo.com/kurkcu-armenian-genocide-is-heinous-crime-against-humanity
3 – http://www.diclehaber.com/en/news/content/view/400217?from=4251622193

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