Wife says jailed presidential candidate Demirtaş holding one-person rally in prison

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Başak Demirtaş, the wife of jailed pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Selahattin Demirtaş, who is running as his party’s presidential candidate in Turkey’s upcoming presidential election, has said following a prison visit that her husband is holding rally for his cellmate in prison, HDP deputy Abdullah Zeydan.

Başak Demirtaş visited her husband, who has been in pre-trial detention in Edirne Prison since November 2016.

Selahattin Demirtaş has been nominated as his party’s presidential candidate for the June 24 presidential election.

Posting a video message from her Twitter account after the visit, Başak Demirtaş said: “I have just visited our presidential candidate in prison. He is carrying out a very intense presidential campaign in prison. He said he answered many interview questions today. He said he will hold a rally for Mr. Zeydan in the evening again. I wish him [Zeydan] patience. He sends his greetings to all our people.”

Many including his rivals Muharrem İnce, Meral Akşener and Temel Karamollaoğlu have been calling for Demirtaş’s release during the presidential campaign period so the election can take place in a democratic environment and under equal conditions for all the presidential candidates.

Demirtaş’s campaign will reportedly appeal to voters of all parties and highlight a process  of normalization in Turkey. If he is not released from prison, Demirtaş will conduct his campaign with messages sent from prison through his lawyers.

Demirtaş ran against incumbent President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the 2014 presidential election and lost. However, he has remained one of the most popular political figures in Turkey.

Erdoğan is the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) presidential candidate for the June 24 election.

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