Demirtaş announces he will not re-stand for party co-chair

Selahattin Demirtaş, in prison since Nov. 4, 2016, announced that he will not re-stand for his position as Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair at the party’s congress on Feb. 11, leftist newspaper Birgün said.

In a letter sent from prison to the party via his lawyer, he said that he had already served two terms as the party's co-chair and did not want regulations changed to allow him a third.

HDP officials had said that because his re-election occurred at an extraordinary rather than a regular congress there would have been no problem with Demirtaş continuing for another term.

Most of the party’s elected central committee are presently in jail, BirGün said, including Demirtaş and former co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ, who gave up her position from prison after being expelled from parliament for non-attendance.

Demirtaş faces up to 142 years on charges of administering the political wing of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey, the United States and the European Union consider a terrorist group.

Demirtaş’s next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 14, 2018, Birgün said.

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