Jun 05 2018

Pro-Kurdish party chair calls on opposition candidates to visit jailed Demirtaş

The co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Sezai Temelli called on all opposition presidential candidates to visit jailed HDP candidate Selahattin Demirtaş in prison ahead of the nation’s elections set for June 24, independent news site Diken reported.

Demirtaş, one of 11 jailed HDP members, was arrested in November 2016 and faces a string of terrorism related charges that could result in a 142- year prison sentence. The HDP presidential hopeful has been conducting a presidential campaign from behind bars in Edirne prison.

‘’I am making this call once again,’’ Temelli said. ‘’Don’t be afraid, go to Edirne and work on a joint agreement. The people [of Turkey] will be behind you.’’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blasted main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) presidential candidate Muharrem İnce for visiting Demirtaş last month.

Temelli went on to urge opposition leaders to unite against Turkey’s ‘’one man regime,’’ and underscored that the country’s democracy problem could not be resolved without the nation’s Kurdish issue being addressed.

Turkey is home to approximately 15 million Kurds. In 2015, the HDP secured 13 percent of the vote in a general election and became the first pro-Kurdish political party to pass the 10 percent threshold to take up seats in Turkey’s parliament.