BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Unfortunately, we can’t have Garo Paylan as president of the Republic of Armenia, he would be just the kind of decency the doctor ordered for the grossly afflicted political-electoral, economic, and perhaps even societal life of the RoA. But for now, let’s set aside the pending parliamentary-presidential election in Yerevan and move to…
… Ankara, Turkey, the country he could be the president of, since he is a citizen there, a member of parliament, a leading figure in his political party, and a modest human being.
Paylan is rational, inclusive in his worldview, proud of his heritage and himself (you can see it in the way he carries himself), has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and is fundamentally a good citizen. Most importantly, he is not afraid to speak truth to power, and inspires hope that he would continue his principled ways once in office.
Should he run and in a very unlikely turn of events get elected, he would be the first Armenian in over 110 years (there are rumors that Bloody Sultan Abdul Hameed II was the child of an Armenian in his father’s harem) to hold that type of executive position in the part of the world where Armenians used to be heads of state for centuries on end before the arrival of the Turkic invaders.
Garo Paylan could bring peace, integrity, and international respect to Turkey for the first time in … EVER. He would be well positioned to implement his party’s (HDP) fairly enlightened policies given Erdoğan’s power grab in the form of constitutional “reform” the centralized much power in the office Turkey’s president.
You may think that it is far too soon to discuss Turkey’s presidential election, 20 months out (November 3, 2019, with a runoff two weeks later between the top two vote-getters if no one secures 50%+1 of the vote). Currently, only one candidate has formally declared his candidacy, Tuna Bekleviç, with Erdoğan himself and Meral Akşener widely expected to run as well. The latter, described as the grandmother who could unseat the sultan, is perceived as a real threat to the incumbent, Erdoğan. For a more extensive list and discussion of candidates, see the wikipedia article about this topic.
Given that there is great turmoil in Turkey’s polity, why not Garo Paylan? Imagine the good he would do for all citizens of Turkey, the improved relations that would follow with neighboring countries when Turkey ceases its Ottoman-based delusions of grandeur and overlordship, and the doors that would open for restoring justice to Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Kurds, and all other nations which have suffered at the belligerent hand of Turkish rulers for centuries.
Think about the alternatives mentioned above. One, Erdoğan, is a proven egomaniac who has wrought much havoc in the whole region and upon his own citizens, never caring about the bloodshed he has caused. Another, Akşener, hails from the right wing sector of Turkey’s political spectrum (although in fairness, there are Armenians involved in her party, too). The third and only formally declared candidate, Bekleviç, has an interesting political history, and, to the very limited extent I could learn about him (not much seems available in English), an interesting possibility, but one who probably won’t get very far.
So, why not Garo Paylan? He would be the best president at this time for Turkey, the world, and Armenians.
Does anyone know how we might go about constituting a “Draft Garo Committee” with the legal confines of Turkey’s electoral system?