Imprisoned HDP candidate holds e-rally from prison cell
Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), held an “e-rally” late on June 21, posting Twitter messages via his lawyers from Edirne Prison where he has been held since November 2016.
“It is a first time in history that there is a rally from a prison cell. We are making history in terms of the history of democracy,” Demirtaş posted, referring to his imprisonment conditions and Turkey’s upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
The former co-leader of the HDP is in jail while being tried in a number of cases, including one in which he is charged with being a member of a terrorist organization. As there is no conviction against him, the Supreme Board of Elections has approved his presidential candidacy and he is trying to run his campaign from his jail cell.
Demirtaş has been using his right to speak with his relatives and his lawyers to convey campaign messages, often shared with the public via social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
The “e-rally” was also held over Twitter, where Demirtaş’s messages were posted online via his lawyers during a legal visit.
“We will cast a ballot in three days for perhaps the most important election of our political history. But this time the choice will not be between one party and several parties. When you hold the stamp, you will be making a decision between two choices. You will either choose one man or many people. You will choose either dictatorship or democracy,” Demirtaş said, reiterating his party’s criticism of the political system shift to an executive presidency that will fully go into effect after the future president is elected.
Demirtaş pledged to “take steps for peace” and to prepare “a contemporary constitution.” He also promised to lift the state of emergency rule in the event that he will is elected.
“Let’s eliminate the victimization caused by the state of emergency decrees. Let’s ensure judicial independence, freedom in the media and universities and eliminate polarization and camping,” he said.
Stating that violence against women is a “political problem rather than a private issue,” he also pledged to “tackle these problems hand in hand with women.”
Demirtaş made a pitch to assign unemployed teachers who are awaiting assignment, while also pledging to form a “Ministry for the Disabled.”