Selahattin Demirtas (second left) and current HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan (center) pose with PKK fighters at a camp in Qandil during the peace negotiation process. Photo: AA
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Jailed presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtas challenged Turkey’s incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdogan to share his latest string of tweets regarding the October 2014 Kobane events, offering to withdraw from the race "for the sake of Erdogan."
Demirtas described his offer to Erdogan as "the biggest opportunity in political history."
The Kurdish city of Kobane in northern Syria was besieged by ISIS in 2014 which was followed by a wave of protests in Turkey, especially in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir. The protests from October 6-7 in 2014 saw more than 50 Kurds reportedly killed by police.
Demirtas is the choice of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party to challenge Erdogan who heads the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey's election on June 24.
Regarding the number of casualties, he refuted Erdogan's figure of 53. Demirtas puts the number at 43, including 33 from the HDP.
The HDP denies any connection to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Demirtas, a Kurd, attempted several times to negotiate a ceasefire between with PKK leaders prior to the 2014 election.
Demirtas wasn't jailed until 2016, when the country was under an ongoing state of emergency that allowed Ankara to circumvent due process and charge him with ties to the PKK on the grounds of photos showing Demirtas with its members during negotiations.
"Erdogan, who calls us 'terrorists' today, kept meeting with us for five months," tweeted Demirtas.
Demirtas said that there is no court case against him or his party regarding Kobane.
Unable to leave Edirne Prison, he campaigns through interviews with some news outlets and tweets relayed by his lawyer.
Under election rules, a party must win at least 10 percent of the vote else they will be disqualified and its votes transferred to larger parties. It will also see its taxpayer funded budget slashed.