Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been in pretrial detention in Turkey since November 2016, has again reached out people, this time with a WhatsApp voice message on Tuesday.
In a voice message shared on Twitter by HDP deputy Ziya Pir, Demirtaş said his morale and health had been given a boost by positive news coming from the outside and called on people to participate in the election campaign.
Turkey will hold snap presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24.
In a development unprecedented anywhere the world Demirtaş on Friday held a news conference on Twitter.
Turkish and foreign journalists asked their questions to Demirtaş, who is currently jailed in Edirne Prison, from their Twitter accounts in Turkish, Kurdish and English.
The questions were relayed to Demirtaş by his lawyers who then posted the presidential candidate’s answers on his Twitter account.
On June 6, Demirtaş addressed the Turkish people in a speech delivered from prison via a telephone call he made to his wife, Başak.
“Good morning, everyone. I think this is the first time in the world that a presidential candidate will deliver a campaign speech from prison. I will address you from the social media accounts of the HDP at 11 a.m. today. See you later,” a message said from Demirtaş’s Twitter account, which was posted by his lawyers.
A video clip posted on the social media accounts of the HDP shows Başak Demirtaş in her house welcoming family members, including her husband’s parents.
Then, Demirtaş calls his wife and begins delivering his 10-minute-long campaign speech.
Many, including his rivals Muharrem İnce, Meral Akşener and Temel Karamollaoğlu, have been calling for Demirtaş’s release during the presidential campaign so the election can take place in a democratic environment and under equal conditions for all presidential candidates.
However, a request for the release of Demirtaş from jail in the run-up to the June 24 presidential election was rejected by an Ankara high criminal court on May 21.
On May 29, Demirtaş’s lawyers applied to Turkey’s Constitutional Court for his release.
Demirtaş ran against Erdoğan in the 2014 presidential election and lost. However, he has remained one of the most popular political figures in Turkey.