Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) jailed Co-chairperson Selahattin Demirtaş has said HDP deputies are being kept in prison as part of a government strategy for snap elections, tr24 reported on Sunday.
“Preparations for the snap election alliance of the AKP [Justice and Development Party] and MHP [Nationalist Movement Party] have already gotten under way. This is the reason why they’re illegally keeping me and my colleagues in prison,” said Demirtaş in a written message read during the HDP’s “Conscience and Justice Watch” in Van province.
Condemning the efforts of the government to isolate HDP members, Demirtaş called on party members to participate in all activities of the people in the region.
Turkish police on Friday detained 23 people, including the Antalya co-chairs of the HDP, in operations against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants in five provinces.
The government has been criticized for stepping up a crackdown on Kurdish politicians.
There are currently 11 HDP deputies behind bars in Turkey. Trustees have been appointed to dozens of municipalities in the country’s predominantly Kurdish Southeast, while hundreds of local Kurdish politicians have been arrested on terror charges.