Jailed Kurdish politician's wife resigns from teaching, citing jail visits during pandemic

The wife of jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş has announced that she resigned from teaching due to the effects on her students of the unpredictability of prison visitations with her husband, brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Başak Demirtaş submitted her resignation from her teaching position earlier this month after her prison visitation scheduling became altered and unpredictable as prisons take measures against the deadly virus, Birgün newspaper reported on Wednesday.

Demirtaş has visited her husband, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), weekly in a journey from the southwestern province of Diyarbakır, where she lives, to the northwestern province of Edirne, where he was been jailed in 2016 on terror charges. But outbreak measures have prompted prison officials to reschedule visits with last minute changes.

Demirtaş’s wife said the move was part of an effort to avoid victimising her students with her absence during this period. She had been teaching at a small village school in the southeastern Diyarbakır province.

Demirtaş is one of Turkey's most prominent politicians and has been in jail for almost three years and faces a string of charges, mainly on "terrorism,’’ which he denies.