Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, who significantly increased his party’s vote count over the local elections, said in his first statement after the announcement of the results that his message had reached every corner of the country.
“Our campaign has made an important breakthrough and had significant success. We will continue to defend our principles with more determination and insistence,” Demirtaş said at his campaign center in Diyarbakır.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the election in the first round with just under 52 percent of the votes, but the biggest surge was unquestionably made by Demirtaş, who almost reached the psychological threshold of 10 percent.
Demirtaş also acknowledged that his campaign had broken the ethnic boundaries of the Kurdish political movement and managed to widen its electorate to a wider spectrum. “It is now clear that it’s our stance that is the candidate to widen the hope of the peoples and will determine Turkey’s line. Our movement has created excitement and almost reached the result that it was aiming for,” Demirtaş said.
His campaign based on representing all segments of society – from members of the LGBT community to workers – won the praise of a large portion of voters and opinion makers.
Demirtaş also vowed to build on his presidential campaign to represent the country’s left wing in the upcoming parliamentary elections and expressed the expectation that he would represent the oppressed against the rule of capital. “Especially with this election, the workers and the poor have said they were with all the oppressed of this country,” Demirtaş said.
Although last in the race, the young politician has shown signs that the Kurdish political movement could embrace larger parts of society. Demirtaş may be true the winner of the elections and become one of the most important actors in Turkey’s political arena in the future.