Aram Shahin Davud Bakoyan

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Aram Shahin Davud Bakoyan is a member of parliament in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. He is of Armenian origin.

Bakoyan was born in 1954 in Avzrog Miri, in the north of Kurdistan Region. Six generations ago a young man called Bakoz (Bohos) from the clan Geznakh in Hakkari, today’s North Kurdistan (Turkey), came with his mother to Avzrog Miri and married an Armenian girl from Sarkissian family which was already settled there. They became the founders of family Bakoyan. Four more generations followed them with the fathers Revo, Gulan, Davud and Shahin and today Aram and his three sons and one daughter are the 6th generation living in Federal Kurdistan Region.

For the 2009 parliament elections in Federal Kurdistan Region, eleven of the 111 seats were reserved for minorities, including Assyrians, Chaldeans, Turkmen and Armenians. Aram Bakoyan was one of the three Armenian candidates who run in the election campaign and he got elected. The Armenians in Kurdistan who had right to vote at that time were about 800, but Aram Bakoyan got 4200 votes. His rivals Aertex Morses Sargisyan and Eshkhan Melkon Sargisyan won respectively 2900 and 880 votes.

One important reason for the Kurdish support for the Armenian candidates and particularly for Aram Bakoyan, is the fact that he was already well known for his Peshmerga (Kurdish Freedom Fighter) past. Aram was only 14 years old when in 1968 he and 6 other Armenians from Zakho started fighting as Peshmerga, shoulder to shoulder with the Kurds from Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) against the Baath regime of Saddam Hussein. In 1974 Aram has been injured by a cannon blast on the left shoulder and stayed three months in a hospital in Mahabad, in Kurdistan in Iran. Unfortunately, his left arm remained immobilised. After coming back home, in 1977 the Armenian was sentenced to five years in prison for his political activities. In the prison Aram was tortured brutally as many other Kurdish political prisoners at that time. In 1979 he was released and he continued to participate actively in the political and social life. Aram was elected two times as leader of the Armenian community in Zakho in 1982-1990.

Today Aram is member of 2 committees in the Parliament - the committee for Municipalities and the committee for Housing and Reconstruction. He contributes to the new developments in Kurdistan Region, but he also works to preserve the Armenian cultural heritage and to help the Armenian community.

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