Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused “the Armenian lobby” of conspiring with his political opponents to deny his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) a landslide victory in Turkey’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
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 People’s Democratic Party (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.
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” news quoted him as saying during a campaign rally in eastern Turkey 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.