ERBIL — The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is likely to nominate former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas, who is currently imprisoned by Turkey, for the country’s presidency in the 2023 elections.
In a recent interview when asked about his possible candidacy, Demirtas said he is ready to shoulder any responsibility if asked by “the people and voters of HDP”.
However, Turkish media reports revealed an intention by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to introduce an amendment to the Turkish constitution which would prevent Demirtas from running for the presidency.
The Turkish service of CNN pointed out in a recent report that Demirtas’ candidacy would prove that the accusations put forward against the Kurdish politician are not legally acknowledged yet, which would mean that his prolonged imprisonment is an illegal move.
If the constitutional amendment is not introduced, political observers believe that he is the most likely candidate from the HDP. He previously run for presidency twice.
Demirtaş has been in prison for five years despite Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments to release him.
The Turkish government put the Kurdish leader, together with hundreds of other HDP members, behind the bars in 2016 for alleged links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Demirtas and his colleagues, however, have rejected the accusations, saying that their imprisonment is a politically motivate decision by the ruling party of Turkey which is tightening the noose around the Kurdish politicians who fight for the rights of millions of Kurds in Turkey.