Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have begun preparations for snap elections, jailed HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has claimed.
“The alliance between the AKP and the MHP has begun preparations for snap elections. This is why they are keeping me and my friends behind bars,” Demirtaş said in a message sent to the HDP’s ongoing “conscience and justice” event in Van on Aug. 13.
Demirtaş and former HDP co-leader Figen Yüksekdağ were jailed in November 2016 on terror-related charges, along with more than a dozen other HDP lawmakers. In addition, parliament voted in favor of lifting the lawmaker status of three HDP MPs, including Yüksekdağ.
“Of course, we are not afraid of going to the polls,” Demirtaş added, calling on all the party’s members, provincial organizations, youth and women’s branches to work hard to get ready for early elections.
“While showing resistance against unfairness, we should get our people ready for the polls. Our people should be sure about this: Although many of us are imprisoned, the HDP is going through one of its most decisive periods of our political history. We are the key party that will determine the political future of Turkey. No political movement can set Turkey’s political future without conciliation and agreement with us,” he stated.
‘HDP’s bonds with the people cannot be broken’
Demirtaş also said “no political force is able to cut the HDP’s ties with the people” or eliminate the party.
“I know you are under huge pressure and threats. We are going through a fascistic era that requires courage even to go out onto the streets. But if we surrender to these fears and obey fascism like this then we’ll leave nothing to our children apart from a painful future,” he added.
Demirtaş also suggested that AKP leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was using his presidential budget to hold AKP rallies across Turkey.
“And they still call it an equal and democratic race in elections. Our people should see this deception very clearly,” he said.
“But despite these unequal conditions, no fatigue has hit the HDP. On the contrary, the HDP management has adopted a will of steel. No force can break this will,” Demirtaş added.