Jun 12 2018

Supporters campaigning for pro-Kurdish presidential candidate detained

Supporters of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) in a campaign vehicle bearing images of jailed presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş were detained by police on Monday while the vehicle was towed to the parking lot of a police headquarters nearby, left-wing newspaper Evrensel reported.

Demirtaş has been imprisoned for 19 months while on trial for multiple terrorism-related charges. He and four other opposition candidates will be facing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in power since 2003, in Turkey’s presidential elections set to take place June 24.

The 44-year-old presidential hopeful is of 11 jailed HDP members, who Ankara accuses of acting in the interest of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - an armed group that has fighting in Turkey for over there decades -  and has been conducting his presidential campaign behind bars in Turkey’s northwestern Edirne province.

Demirtas received 9.76 percent of the vote in the 2014 presidential elections, coming in third place.