Three names being aired for HDP co-chair position

After Turkey’s jailed pro-Kurdish opposition leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, announced he will not stand for re-election as co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), three names have emerged as contenders for the position to be decided at a party congress on Feb. 11, leftist news website soL said.

HDP members of parliament Ayhan Bilgen, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Osman Baydemir have been mentioned as potential candidates to replace the charismatic Demirtaş, the newspaper said.

Even though the topic has not been formally debated at a two-day party meeting, the names were discussed on the sidelines, the website said.

Imprisoned since November 2016 and facing terrorism charges, Demirtaş sent a letter to the party via his lawyer saying he had already served two terms as the party's co-chair and did not want regulations changed to allow him a third, the paper said, adding that Baydemir was the most popular of the three within the party.