The former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair, jailed politician Selahattin Demirtaş, criticized his party for staying in “vacation mode” after elections on June 24 and urged them to “exercise their democratic right to protest” in a letter published on the Fırat news agency (ANF) website on Friday.
Demirtaş, who was the party’s candidate in the presidential election, is no longer a member of parliament since Turkish law prohibits citizens from running for both the presidency and parliament.
“There was a chance to stop the fascist bloc; however, this possibility wasn’t capitalized on due to blindness, shortsightedness or inexperience at certain levels,” Demirtaş said in evaluating the election results.
“Regarding this issue, it is a shame that adequate and satisfying self-criticism hasn’t yet been offered to the public.”
Demirtaş has been surprisingly silent since the elections, considering his invigorating and promising presidential campaign from a prison cell.
He was arrested in November 2016 on “terrorism” charges and has been held in Edirne prison ever since.
Demirtaş urged the HDP to re-establish ties with its grass roots and hold meetings, marches, forums and other democratic events to raise awareness in the public.
“There is an atmosphere of ‘the elections were the last and only opportunity, and since they’re lost there’s nothing left to do’ against fascism, which is simply apolitical. It is leaving the public to the mercy of fascism,” he said.
“How can an opposition that doesn’t exercise its democratic right to protest in a situation in which parliament, the constitution, the law and the judiciary have all been abolished remain as a hope for the people?”