Today all parties finalized MP candidate lists for 2011 elections in Turkey. Even BDP, whose ranks consist basically of minorities nominated less than 25% women. Governing AKP has 78 women candidates whereas main opposition CHP has 109. Both parties have 14 handicapped candidates each. And in our knowledge so far there are 1 Assyrian and 2 Jewish Non-Muslim candidates in the total roster. All parties seem to have forgotten their promise to nominate LGBT candidates in 2011 elections, again.
One has to accept that Turkish culture is a masculine one. (OK, I’m being polite here. It is completely male chauvinistic.) Political success is still a function of obeisance not of merit. So it is not surprising to see the average age of candidates by assumedly progressive BDP is a far too old 48 in an extremely young population.
So first youth is discriminated against.
Tolerance is another function of modern democracies. In a culture where gays and lesbians are considered “sick”, expecting “serious” and self-conscious political parties nominate LGBT candidates is like a pink dream in itself. However knowing that does not hide the fact that society’s bias towards “the other” is hindering basic democratic principles. There are millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transsexual people in Turkey. Their fight is for basic human rights which are supposed to be guaranteed by the Constitution and International Agreements. These demands have not and will not be represented in the Parliament.
Second, LGBT are discriminated against.
Heck, 52% of Turkish population are women. In the best of the cases, only half of them will be represented. This, only because of a “law” Turkey calls “Code of Political Parties” and Elections. This pieces of crap are totally undemocratic; they are far from providing adequate representation. Candidate selection is purely a one man decision and there are no elective procedures from bottom to top. People simply apply and approved or disapproved by party leader. In some parties a party politburo makes the decision. Women are seen as decorative items in the Parliament. They lack any real control on main party decisions. Women who wear headscarves are basically excluded from every public office altogether. Women in Turkey are beaten, horrified, put aside and even frequently killed for the most inhumane of reasons; family feuds.
Third, women are discriminated against.
Last, but not the least there are Christian citizens of Turkey. They are seen as relics escaped from a forgettable past. Ministry of Foreign Affairs take care of them and the Aboriginals in Australia. They have specific discriminatory laws when it comes to their constitutional rights such as founding associations and private schools and such. Even a Greek in Greece has better rights in Turkey than an Orthodox Christian citizen in Turkey.
There are certain parts of Istanbul where Armenian minority make up quite a percentage of the population. Yet they are silenced with indiscriminate discrimination for over 100 years, they just want to be let alone than to be represented anywhere. And ones who get out of the closet and start voicing dissent, he is immediately in danger of being silenced, or even be killed.
Fourth, religious minorities are discriminated against.
All so-called minorities; religious, sexual, political and intellectual, today have one hope of representation; independent candidates who are there only because another minority party supports them under its roof, namely the BDP. And they have only limited means, working under harsh conditions, fighting against humiliation and violence everyday.
And all this will amount to democracy?
Get the hell out!