My family faced racism in the past, says HDP's candidate Demirtaş
Demirtaş is presented with a portrait of himself during his rally in Adana.Presidential hopeful Selahattin Demirtaş, while speaking to broadcaster CNNTürk in the southern province of Adana on Aug. 6, said he and his family have suffered from several instances of racism in the past due to their Kurdish identity.
He recounted an unforgettable moment when he went to pick his daughter up from kindergarten a couple of years ago and realized the teachers were helping the other children put on their shoes, only neglecting his daughter.
“They [teachers] were having all the kids put on their shoes. I was a deputy from the Democratic Society Party [DTP] at that time. They did not help my daughter with her shoes. I did not expect any privileges for being a deputy. But they helped all of the other kids, except my daughter. I asked her, ‘Do you always put your shoes on by yourself?’ She said ‘yes.’ So, yes, we have faced racism many times in the past,” Demirtaş said during the interview.
Demirtaş, the co-leader and presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), also said his neighbors in his apartment block did not allow their children to play with his children.
Meanwhile, on Aug. 5, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan sparked fresh debate while trying to defend his ethnicity.
“They have also said a lot of things about me. One of them came and said I was a Georgian. Then another came up and, I beg your pardon, called me uglier things, saying I was Armenian,” Erdoğan said during a live interview, adding he was a purebred Turk, contradicting previous comments in August 2004 when he claimed to have Georgian heritage.
Speaking about Erdoğan’s controversial remarks about Armenians, Demirtaş asked what if he was Armenian or Georgian.
“People living in the same apartment buildings discriminate against others on religious or ethnic grounds and whether they are Kurds or Alevis. They are made that way. This tendency is to the government’s advantage. The prime minister is asking his supporters their ethnicity and religious sect in his opinion polls. What difference does it make whether you are Armenian, Georgian, Kurdish or Turkish? Haven’t we all suffered enough?” Demirtaş said.