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Yazidi female lawmaker nominated for Turkish leftist party

Uca is HDP’s fourth candidate from the Kurdish-dominated southeastern province of Diyarbakır

Published: Updated:

Feleknas Uca, a German-born parliamentarian who hails from the Yazidi ethnic group, has been nominated Tuesday as one of the leading candidates for the leftist People’s Democratic Party (HDP) in the upcoming June elections, a local daily reported.

Uca is the fourth candidate from the Kurdish-dominated southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

The pro-Kurdish HDP, also known for representing minority groups such as Alawites, Armenians, Pomaks, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups, has 29 places in the 550-seat Turkish parliament. If HDP exceeds its 10 percent national election threshold, Uca is expected to win a seat in the parliament easily, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

Uca has made successes in Europe when she was elected to the European Parliament in 1999 as a Die Linke - or the Left Party - politician in Germany.

The 39-year-old lawmaker is not the world’s only Yazidi parliamentarian. Iraq’s legislature, that was elected in 2005 also included Yazidi politicians - including Vian Dakhil, whose breaking down in front of cameras made her an icon of Yaizidi’s plight after Islamic State of Iraq of Syria (ISIS) seized the minority group’s main town of Sinjar in northern Iraq.

Uca showed defiance when was detained at an Istanbul airport in 2012 for carrying a large number of vitamins that she reportedly planned to take to Kurdish hunger strikers in Turkish prisons.

In 2005, Uca irked the Turkish authorities when the spoke in Kurdish – which is not taught in Turkish schools - and called on Turkey to decrease the 10 percent election threshold, leading her to face a probe.

In early 2015, Turkey’s top court declined to rule on proposals to lower the 10 percent threshold for parliamentary representation, giving HDP a blow - since its support hovers around the threshold.

Exclusion of the HDP from parliament could affect efforts to negotiate an end to a three-decade rebellion in the southeast.

The constitutional court ruled it was not competent to order a change in the threshold, meaning the electoral law will remain as it is. It gave no further clarification.

In the 2011 elections, Kurdish candidates ran as independents before forming the party after being elected, but HDP's leaders have this time said they want to stand as a unified party.

HDP’s co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş told daily Hurriyet in a recent interview that one of his party’s priorities was gender equality.

(With Reuters)