Selahattin Demirtas in prison in Turkey. Photo: HDP via AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Unveiling its manifesto ahead of Turkey’s June 24 election, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has promised to annul the country’s terror law and abandon the presidential palace “which serves one man.”
The document, introduced as “Demirtas’ election manifesto,” was published on the party’s official website on Monday.
Selahattin Demirtas, the leftist party’s presidential candidate who is running for election from Edirne high security prison, will “immediately lift the state of emergency,” reads the manifesto. The party will also release those jailed under the law following “unjust” trials.
The HDP manifesto also includes basic service improvements, such as free water, electricity, and gas to the poor, and an increase in the state pension. They will also lift tolls on roads and bridges.
In a novel move, the party said it will not use the presidential palace if it wins.
“The palace which serves one man will be abandoned. We will ask people what purpose the palace should be used for,” it added.
In a speech unveiling the manifesto, Sezai Temelli, co-chair of HDP, promised to “liberate” the political process from one-man rule.
“In our manifesto we will inform you about how we will end one-man [rule], social polarization, wastage [of money] through our [election] campaigns.”
Pervin Buldan, another party co-chair, said Demirtas “is no longer our candidate, he is our president. He is the president of millions.”
“One vote can change everything,” she added. “HDP is the source of light, courage and hope of our people. Let’s remember our future when we go to ballot boxes.”
Demirtas was jailed in 2016 accused of being a leading member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a named terrorist organization – and of inciting people to violence. The prosecutor in Demirtas' trial is seeking up to 142 years imprisonment on 31 terror-related charges. He denies the charges.
HDP strongly opposes the ruling AK Party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Demirtas himself garnered 9.76 percent of the vote in presidential elections in 2014, coming in third place.