May 17 2018

Well-known Turkish journalist becomes candidate for pro-Kurdish party

A well-known investigative journalist has announced his candidacy to represent a pro-Kurdish opposition party at the upcoming parliamentary elections, left-wing news site Artı Gerçek said.

Ahmet Şık made the announcement on Twitter that he would stand for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Istanbul on June 24.

Şık was jailed in 2011 as part of the Ergenekon investigation brought by prosecutors linked to the now-banned Gülen movement into an alleged secularist plot to overthrow the government after he wrote a book on how members of the shadowy Islamist group had infiltrated the police.

Şık was found innocent and released a year later, but was jailed again in 2017 on charges of writing propaganda for terrorist groups, including the Gülen movement, and then released pending trial 15 months after that.

Along with the HDP’s jailed presidential candidate, former party co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, many detainees have also announced their candidacy to represent the party in parliament.

These include the co-spokesperson for a social movement linked to the HDP, Professor Onur Hamzaoğlu, the co-president of the HDP-linked Democratic Society Congress, Leyla Güven, Nurten Ertuğrul of the Islamist-origin group the Rights and Justice Platform, and Erkan Baş of the Turkish Workers’ Party.

The HDP and its allies have been criticised for their perceived closeness to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been fighting the Turkish state intermittently since 1984 in pursuit of autonomy.