Imprisoned pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas has accused The Turkish media of not covering his campaign. He claims that they are only coving pro-government interests. Demiritas is running a campaign from prison, a bold move — to say the least. Selahattin was arrested in November 2016 along with 11 other HDP officials, they were charged with having connections to a terrorist group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.)
Demirtas tweeted, “Do Turkish media outlets know there is an election in Turkey? Do they know there is a candidate who is in jail while you put all efforts behind the candidate in power? Your salary is paid by [our] nation while you serve only one person. You cannot dare to talk about me even in one news story.” His remarks were clearly targeting Turkish media outlets.
State run media outlets have been on the rise in the last few years, as companies with connections to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have bought out many of the independent outlets. Many hold the belief that the Turkish media has become increasingly less critical of government policy because of this.
Leadership within the HDP demanded Turkey’s Constitutional Court allow Demirtas immediate release last week. HDP co-chair Sezai Temelli stated amid a protest that, “The Constitutional Court must meet to discuss this case and, taking into account electoral rights and eligibility, order his release at once.” Temelli cautioned that, “This country will be dragged into deepening crisis if the opposite of this happens.” Demirtas lawyer, Mahsuni Karaman, stated that the HDP hoped the courts would release him within the week, “a ruling that will hold a light to this dark political environment.” The Turkish presidential elections will be held June 24th and 6 candidates will take part including current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Demirtas.
Featured image: Selahattin Demirtaş by Mahmut Bozarslan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons