HDP kicks off election campaign in Turkey’s Edirne
EDİRNE – Doğan News Agency
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officially started its campaign on May 25 in the northwestern province of Edirne, where former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has been jailed since November 2016 on terrorism charges.
Current HDP co-chairs Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli issued a press statement on May 25 in front of the prison where Demirtaş is held, saying they “hoped Demirtaş would be released as soon as possible.”
The HDP has presented Demirtaş as its presidential candidate for the upcoming elections to be held on July 24 and the Supreme Board of Elections (YSK) officially approved his candidacy on May 13.
Buldan, Temelli, and a number of other HDP members requested to visit Demirtaş in person on May 25 but their request was turned down by the authorities.
Saying that Demitaş is being kept in jail “unlawfully,” Buldan vowed to “take Demirtaş everywhere with us, his pictures, videos and voice.”
“Our presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş is the candidate of millions, he is the hope of millions,” Buldan said, referring specifically to the number of votes that the HDP acquired in the June 2015 general elections.
“You can hold Demirtaş in between four walls, but you cannot erase him from millions’ hearts ever. Your fear is out from Demirtaş’s courage,” Buldan added, addressing reporters and HDP supporters gathered in front of the prison.
“We have embarked on the road to get Demirtaş out from prison on the evening of June 24 [when elections will be held] … We are voicing our promise from here to Demirtaş: On the evening of June 24 our people will welcome you here with halay [a local folk dance],” she said.
Temelli, meanwhile, said the HDP will apply to the Constitution Court for Demirtaş’s release, also calling on the top court to rule in favor of Demirtaş as otherwise the legal system would “further be dragged into a crisis.”
During the co-chairs’ speeches, HDP supporters at the scene held up posters of Demirtaş, and after the press meeting Buldan, Temelli and party members left Edirne for the northwestern province of Çorlu, where they will hold a rally on May 26.