Basak Demirtas speaks to her jailed husband Selahattin Demirtas in a video released on June 6, 2018. Photo: HDP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Selahattin Demirtas, the jailed presidential candidate for the pro-Kurdish HDP blamed Turkish officials for “defaming” him during a publicly-released telephone call to family members.
The nearly 8-minute telephone call was released by the People’s Democratic Party on Wednesday.
“Everyday government officials continue campaigning to defame me on TVs and newspapers without slowing down while my hands are tied and I cannot use my rights to answer them,” he told his wife, Basak Demirtas.
He mostly referred to his opponent, incumbent Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu who blame Demirtas for the deaths of 50 Kurds from October 6-7 in 2014 when the Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria was besieged by ISIS.
Kurds in Diyarbakir protested against Turkish state’s policies when it cut off roads to besieged Kobane. After clashes erupted between protesters and the police, more than 50 people were reportedly killed by police.
Demirtas has only been able to campaign through his lawyers.
Demirtas’ parents also listened to their son’s speech. His mother did not express sadness or joy like some of the other listeners.
He complained about his arrest, claiming that the decision was “illegal and unjust.” He reiterated that he has been a “political hostage” Edirne Prison since November 2016.
All the people of Turkey are “oppressed” but his case is only one example, said Demirtas, adding that injustice is not only practiced in court but also at hospitals, universities, factories, and state institutions.
He called on Turkish components to unite for the sake of “establishing a democratic Turkey and a happy and free life.”
At the conclusion of his speech, all the members of his family referred to him as “President Selo” — Selo is his affectionate nickname.
Turkey is set to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
The amount of airtime Turkish presidential candidates and parties received during May greatly varied on the state’s TRT news bulletin, according a report released by Transparency International on June 1.
By candidate (May 1 to May 31)
Recep Tayyip Erdogan: 105 minutes
Muharrem Ince: 37 minutes
Meral Aksener: 14 minutes
Temel Karamollaoglu: 5 minutes
Dogu Perincek: 2 minutes
Selahattin Demirtas: 18 seconds
AKP: 147 minutes
CHP: 25 minutes
MHP 25 minutes
IYI (Good) Party: 14 minutes
Felicity Party: 5 minutes
Great Unity Party (BBP): 5 minutes
Patriotic Party: 2 minutes
MetroPOLL Arastirma released its survey data for May.
Erdogan polled at 45.9 percent, followed by Ince at 20.1, Demirtas 11.4, Aksener 11.2, Karamollaglu 1.7, and Perincek at 0.1.
Undecided voters stood at 5.6 percent, 1.8 percent of voters haven't made a decision, 1.4 percent boycotting, and 0.8 gave no answer.
MetroPOLL describes itself as "an independent and strategic social surveying institute in Turkey."