Kurdish leaders attended HAK-PAR president’s funeral Tuesday. Photo: Rudaw.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — The death of Fehmi Demir, the chairman of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Rights and Freedoms Party (HAK-PAR), brought leaders of Kurdish parties in Turkey together to attend his Ankara funeral Tuesday.
Demir died in a traffic accident in the Tarsus district of Mersin on Sunday.
Leaders of the Kurdish parties in Turkey, including the People's Democratic Party (HDP), Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK), Kurdistan Party (PAKURD), Participatory Democratic Party, Free Causes Party (Huda Par), Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), Kurdistan Democratic Party-Turkey (KDPT) and Freedom and Socialist Party (OSP) attended the funeral.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the HDP, said in a eulogy at the funeral that he did not know how Demir's death would affect the parliamentary elections scheduled for November 1—the second such election since June after the first round failed to seat a majority government.
Kurdistan region President Masoud Barzani also offered his condolences to Demir’s family.
In a statement, Barzani said his thoughts and prayers went out to the family as well as the leadership of HAK-PAR.
Demir was seen on the state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) channel delivering his party's campaign speech two hours before he died.
According to Turkish media reports, Demir was heading to a party meeting in Mersin when his vehicle struck a car that was broken down on the side of the highway near Tarsus.
Demir's vehicle struck and killed Hacı Murat Doğu, a Turkish-Austrian who was checking his car after it broke down along the highway. Slippery road conditions caused the HAK-PAR chairman to lose control of his vehicle, which skidded to a stop after crashing into guardrails. Both the HAK-PAR chairman and Doğu died at the scene.
Demir was elected chairman of the HAK-PAR in October 2014. He pursued his party’s essential ideology, which is to find a peaceful solution to Turkey's decades-long controversy regarding the unequal treatment of Kurdish citizens.
Demir's body was first brought to Ankara on Monday for the funeral ceremony held in front of HAK-PAR's headquarters on Tuesday. His body is set to be laid to rest in his hometown of Konya at a later date.
Demir was born in the Konya province of central Anatolia. He entered politics at an early age and worked at different positions in different Kurdish parties. He was one of the founders of the first Kurdish party, the People's Labor Party (HEP), in 1990.