CHP’s candidate İnce will visit jailed HDP candidate Demirtaş

The main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) candidate for presidency Muharrem İnce plans to visit Selahattin Demirtaş, the candidate of the majority-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), jailed in Edirne prison, Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday. 

“I defend elections to be held under equal, fair, and free conditions. That is my understanding of democracy. I will ask to get an appointment from all presidential candidates of opposition parties,” told İnce to Cumhuriyet.

During his first election rally yesterday, Muharrem İnce, criticised both Demirtaş’s imprisonment and the government’s accusations against voters nominating other opposition candidates for presidency by providing signatures. Both president Erdoğan’s ally, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahçeli and senior names form the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) implied that those voters may be linked to Gülen Movement, a religious group the Turkish state accuses of masterminding the July 2016 coup.

“Don’t attack Akşener’s, Karamollaoğlu’s signatures. Don’t hold Demirtaş in jail. Let’s compete in a manful way,” İnce said addressing Turkish president Erdoğan.

Four members of the parliament from CHP also announced statements about Selahattin Demirtaş’s imprisonment, as well as attacks against other opposition parties on social media.

“The elections are not fair, if there is no election threshold for one, but there is for the other; if one’s campaign is organised by the state, while the other one is in jail; if one’s supporters are called the ‘nation’, while those providing signatures for others are accused of being terrorists! Democracy requires the release of Demirtaş and allowing people to give signatures for anyone they want,” Selin Sayek-Böke said on twitter.

Another MP, Eren Erdem noted that Selahattin Demirtaş had not been sentenced by the court and added that his imprisonment would shadow the fairness of the elections. 

“The candidates for presidency are now announced. Those candidates will hold rallies and ask for votes. The candidate of HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş is held in prison in an unlawful way. This shame and unfairness should be ended. Demirtaş should be released immediately,” Barış Yarkadaş from CHP wrote.

Sezgin Tanrıkulu also pointed that there was no definitive judgement for Demirtaş and called for his release.