Last modified: 2008-08-23 by phil nelson
Keywords: uzbekistan | freedom democratic party (erk) | bashimi | crescent: hoistwise | star: white |
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image by David Martucci
The ERK ( Freedom ) Democratic Party grew out of the Birlik (Unity) Popular Front of Uzbekistan which was started by Muhammad Salih and two of his friends in November, 1988. ERK took its name from a Turkistani nationalist party of the same name that was active among intellectuals in Central Asia in the 1920s. The ERK party distinguished itself from the rest of the Birlik movement by stressing the principle of "Independence First" rather than the notion of "First Democracy, Then Independence" which had become the slogan of pro-Moscow factions of the movement.
ERK was officially founded on April 11,1990, and Muhammad Salih was elected the party leader on April 30, 1990. The party's platform articulated the goals of independence for Uzbekistan, a multi-party democratic system, a market economy, private enterprise and land reform.
researched by Jarig Bakker
image by Ivan Sache
The Birlik website says that Birlik is "Popular Movement of Uzbekistan". Foundation of Erk was promoted by Uzbek president Ismail Karimov, who required a more "loyal", constructive opposition than Birlik. Birlik was not allowed to have a candidate to the general elections in 1991, whereas Muhamad Solih was appointed as Karimov's "official challenger". In 1992, Erk became too radical in Karimov's eyes, and a new "opposition" party called Vatan Taraqqiyoti (Fatherland Progress) was founded. In 1995, two new parties called Adolat (Justice) and Miliy Tiklanish (National Rebirth) were founded on Karimov's direct "advice", and many parliament members were "asked" by the government to join these parties. Karimov's party, the successor of the local branch of Communist Party in Soviet era, was renamed in 1991 People's Democratic Party.
On the party website front page, http://www.birlik.net/engl.html,, there is the flag shown on