HDP's presidential candidate Demirtaş assures no negotiations with AKP
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Selahattin Demirtaş dismissed claims that he would back Prime Minister Erdoğan's candidacy in a possible second round. REUTERS PhotoSelahattin Demirtaş, the presidential candidate of the Kurdish and leftist bloc, the Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP), has dismissed claims that he will negotiate with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to back Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the second round of the polls.
“First of all, we will be in the second round. There will be two candidates and one of them will be us. So there is no point to have such concerns regarding negotiations,” Demirtaş ambitiously said during a July 8 interview on private broadcaster CNN Türk.
“I am the antidote that can prevent Erdoğan from creating a totalitarian and authoritarian regime in the presidency,” he added.
Demirtaş stressed that he would campaign on “unnegotiable principles” and would not only focus on gains for the Kurds.
“We have a principle that we will continue to defend. This is that [the election] is not about choosing a president, but the dream of creating a free society. We will not use this dream as an item of negotiations behind closed doors,” he said.
The HDP co-leader also announced that he would unveil a campaign manifesto on July 15. “In it, we will state what kind of Turkey we dream about,” Demirtaş said, also vowing to create two “advising councils” - one composed of women and the other of disabled people - if elected.
‘Kurdish problem will be solved’
As the representative of the main Kurdish bloc, Demirtaş promised to accelerate the ongoing peace process and solve the Kurdish issue under his presidency. The process is currently one of the main arguments put forward by Erdoğan to garner Kurdish votes, considered to be key in the polls. “There will be neither a concern of division, nor democracy. Under my presidency, Turkey will solve the Kurdish issue by putting all concerns aside,” Demirtaş said, while stressing that he would not only be a candidate for the Kurds.
“We have to make something clear. Those who need democracy and freedom are not just Kurds. Therefore, what brings us together under the same roof is radical democracy; a strong democracy. Relief will not be possible for anybody until a new line has been created in Turkey. My candidacy is a great opportunity for this,” he added.
Demirtaş, Erdoğan and the former head of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, will run in the first round of the polls on Aug. 10. The second round will be held on Aug. 24 if none of the candidates receive over 50 percent.