They want to imprison me for a speech on peace - former Kurdish party leader

The jailed former co-chair of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş, spoke up against a five year prison sentence he may be facing due to a speech he delivered, underlining that the 2013 speech was on peace during the height of the peace process launched by the Turkish government to resolve the Kurdish issue.

The prosecutor in the case on Monday requested a five year prison sentence for HDP’s Demirtaş and HDP Ankara deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, accused of conducting “terrorist propaganda’’ for speeches they delivered during the Kurdish Newroz celebrations in 2013.

Demirtaş, on twitter, shared the indictment as well as the police report on the case, highlighting the content of his speech as support for the peace process, wherein the HDP helped mediate between the Turkish government and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) - an armed group that has been fighting in Turkey for decades -  that eventually led to a ceasefire in 2013.

‘’From now on, standing side by side, we will do everything possible to maintain the struggle for peace,’’ the police report highlighted Demirtaş as saying.

‘’This is the speech they want to give a five year sentence four,’’ 44-year-old Demirtaş said.

The next hearing in the Demirtaş and Önder case is slated for June 8 and will be held in the Istanbul’s Çağlayan Court House.

Demirtaş, who has been jailed since November 2016, could face jail sentences totalling more than 100 years on a string of charges.