HDP’s (Peoples’ Democratic Party) Presidential candidate answered questions by Le Courrier, a newspaper published in the French speaking cantons of Switzerland, in writing from the Edirne High Security Type F Prison he is currently held in.

Demirtaş said he has very limited resources in prison, and added that in the Type F Prison he has been held in since November 2016, he hasn’t been allowed to see any other people in the prison other than his cell mate MP Abdullah Zeydan, even from afar.

“THE JUDICIARY IS USED AS BRUTE FORCE FOR THE POLITICAL OPERATION”

Demirtaş stressed that he never lost the tenacity to fight, despite being in prison, and said the following on the pressure he and his party HDP is under: “Despite all, we are strong and our morale is high. I would like to first say that it’s not just me, there are 11 MPs and thousands of party members under arrest. There is a clear political operation against us, and our party. The judiciary was used against us as mere brute force in this political operation, and it continues to be so.

Erdoğan and the AKP imprisoned thousands of HDP members, using the social-psychological atmosphere they created through the pressure on the judiciary and media manipulation, when they failed to deal with us in the political arena.

Accusations against most of us are comprised entirely of press statements and rally speeches. It is unfortunately impossible to speak of an independent and free judiciary in Turkey.”

“THEY TARGET US BECAUSE WE ARE THEIR ONLY RIVAL”

Demirtaş said the HDP is the biggest rival and the biggest alternative force against Erdoğan and the AKP, and that is the reason they are under a large scale attack: “The results we achieved in the June 7 and November 1 elections in 2015 posed a great barrier against Erdoğan and his government’s projects. Erdoğan and the AKP see us as the greatest rival, so they increased the pressure and the attacks and went so far as to arrest thousands of party members and confiscate municipalities.”

Demirtaş added that he is on remand for only one of the 20-something ongoing cases against him: “All the criticisms I posed as the Co-chairperson of a political party have been considered ‘terrorist propaganda’ and they prepared indictments against me. All the so-called evidence used to excuse my arrest has been revealed to be manufactured, and that the FETÖ prosecutors were the ones who forged them, but I am still on remand.”

“THEY SAW THEY COULDN’T GOVERN THE COUNTRY AND CALLED FOR SNAP ELECTIONS”

Demirtaş said the AKP government has become unable to govern the country, and that is the reason why they are taking the country to snap elections: “There are strong indications in the currency exchange rates, inflation, unemployment and current deficit that a severe economic crisis is coming. At the same time, the AKP is stuck in the foreign policy area. As such, the AKP sees that they keep losing support. They aimed to catch the opposition off guard and planned to take back power on June 24, before this process brings the end of the AKP.”

“OUR PEOPLE WILL EMBRACE HDP FURTHER”

Demirtaş answered a question on the two sides of alliances: “I believe that the HDP will go over the 10% threshold on its own. I believe it hasn’t sit well with the people that other alliances have excluded us and attempted to push us below the threshold. Under these circumstances, I believe that the people will embrace the HDP further.”

“MY CANDIDACY FROM PRISON IS A SHAME FOR TURKEY’S POLITICS AND THE AKP”

When asked about his candidacy from prison, his campaign and the possibility of being released during this process, Demirtaş said: “My candidacy from prison is a shame for the political landscape in Turkey and the AKP government. I am running my election campaign from prison, with next to nothing resources. My campaign tools are my lawyers and the messages I send outside through the post. But the true campaign is carried out outside in my name by my party HDP and millions of young friends. I support them from here. Erdoğan campaigns with all the opportunities the state and the media have to offer, while I do what I can from my cell in this prison, trusting in the heart, courage and faith of women and the youth.

“HOW MUCH PEOPLE DEFEND ME WILL DETERMINE MY SITUATION”

My release wouldn’t be illegal, what’s illegal is my arrest. If there was due process, I wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place. In the end, what determines my situation will be how much the people defend me, and general political developments.”

“EVERYBODY SHOULD GO TO THE BALLOTS”

Demirtaş sent his love and greetings to voters in Europe and Switzerland through the newspaper and said: “I request everybody go to the ballots, support democracy and vote.”

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