Imprisoned Demirtas speaks, urges HDP to play hardball in Turkish politics

The Kurdish leader urged protests against "fascist" Erdogan administration in writing from prison.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Selahattin Demirtas, the imprisoned former Co-leader of Turkey's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and a presidential candidate in recent national elections held in June, told his party in a sharply-worded article from prison to mount aggressive opposition to the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Cornering the struggle into a Parliament that has been rendered functionless, playing democracy there is exactly what the AKP-MHP fascist block wishes. Therefore the HDP must immediately get out of "vacation mood" and come onto the field," Demirtas said, in an apparent criticism of the party he used to lead.

Demirtas referred to the Parliament's diminished powers, undermined by Erdogan's new executive presidential system, in addition to the dominance of the strongman's Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the assembly.

With the message given to the Kurdish news agency ANF, Demirtas broke his silence and a state of political oblivion that followed the elections less than two months ago from which Erdogan and his right-wing alliance emerged victoriously.

"How can the opposition become hope for people, if it does not use its right to democratic right to protest in an environment where the Parliament, Constitution, laws, and judiciary have been abolished?" he asked.

Unlike Demirtas's earlier statements from behind the bars, the HDP did not run his piece this time in their own publications. Pervin Buldan and Sezai Temelli currently head the left-wing Kurdish party, the second largest opposition group after the Republican People's Party (CHP).

"The fact is, [the HDP] has approached the elections without preparations, foresight, and precaution for what to do in the aftermath," Demirtas penned, adding that it lacked a roadmap to combat what he termed a fascist administration.

"The attitude that there is nothing left to do now that elections have been lost is apoliticism. It is to forsake people to the mercy of fascism."

The charismatic Kurdish leader who no longer holds a post at the HDP has been in prison since late 2016, standing accused by Erdogan of terrorism and separatism.

Editing by John J. Catherine