MP from main opposition resigns due to lack of Roma parliamentary candidates from his party

Özcan Purçu, a lawmaker from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), has resigned from the party due to the lack of parliamentary candidates from Turkey’s Roma community for the general election in May, the Diken news website reported.

According to Purçu, the CHP has failed to nominate any Roma for seats in the Turkish parliament despite nine applications from the country’s Roma community.

Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place on May 14. The parliamentary candidate lists of 26 political parties for the general election were submitted to the Supreme Election Board (YSK), Turkey’s top election authority, on April 10.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is seeking re-election, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Homeland Party leader Muharrem İnce and Sinan Oğan, the candidate of a bloc of four far-right parties, are the four candidates who have qualified to run in the presidential election.

According to the rights groups, the Roma community in Turkey continues to face discrimination.

The World Dictionary of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples said the Roma community in Turkey lives mostly in ghettos. Poverty and social exclusion are widespread among the Roma, and the majority are subjected to discrimination as regards education, employment and housing. 

In 2020 the Council of Europe urged Turkey to take steps to stop the further marginalization of the Roma amid the pandemic.

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