Apr 19 2019

Jailed Kurdish politician says election result is a response to one-man rule in Turkey

Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed former co-chair of Turkey's pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party's (HDP), said on Friday that they achieved great success in local elections despite criminalisation efforts against his party and it is a response to one-man rule.

"Many of us have been criminalized and deemed “terrorists” by government officials. And yet my party, which I co-chaired for many years, still showed its strength in these latest elections," Demirtaş said in an article he wrote for the Washington Post.

In the local elections on March 31, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has lost control of five of six populous cities, including the capital of Ankara and the country's economic hub Istanbul, in a blow to Erdoğan's 16-year rule. 

The HDP's local election strategy, which was also supported by Demirtaş through a message from prison, was taking back all municipalities in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish south-east run by the administrators appointed by the government meanwhile supporting opposition candidates in the west of the country. 

"The HDP’s electoral success, despite all the obstacles confronting it, is remarkable," the imprisoned leader said, "this shows that the HDP and its many Kurdish supporters remain unbowed by the repressive measures of the state," he added.

According to Demirtaş, the way out of problems that Turkey faces is to establish peace, democracy and put an end to polarising policies. The results of the elections clearly show that people in Turkey are opposed to "authoritarianism and one-man rule," he said.