Demirtas calls Turkish media watchdog chief "liar" and "no-good man"
Imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas reacted to the head of Turkey's media watchdog and called him "a liar" after the latter misleadingly said Demirtas was "convicted of being a member of a terrorist group."
Targeting independent broadcaster Halk TV whose host lauded Demirtas's latest book Dad and expressed solidarity with all "freedom fighters in prison," the head of Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) Ebubekir Sahin said on Saturday:
"While the rules to be followed by the media are clear with the elections approaching, provocative broadcasts by Halk TV are unacceptable. It may not be claimed that our country is colonialist, and somebody who is convicted of being a member of a terrorist organization may not be promoted. Investigation has been launched."
Demirtas said in response:
"You no-good man, I have not been convicted of being member of an illegal organization! Do not lie. You have been holding me in a 12 square meter cell for seven years but you still panic when my name is mentioned. This is because we are the people and we are right. You and your bosses on the other hand are 'tirsoneks' [Kurdish term for coward] who are neck-deep in crime."
Demirtas was sentenced to a prison term of 4 years and 8 months on charge of "propaganda for a terrorist organization," over a speech he had made on 20 March 2013.
He was more recently sentenced to three and a half years in prison on March 2021 for "insulting the president."
Demirtas is denied release despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), who said his detention "pursued the ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate."
The remarks by RTUK chief also followed a broadcast by Halk TV on Saturday during which one of the guests said Turkey followed in the footsteps of other colonialist powers who supported local actors in their colonies against stronger ones.
Mashuq Kurt, lecturer at Royal Holloway University of London, said:
"The ruling Justice and Development Party missed the Kurdish train when it brought down the homes of people on their heads in 2016 incidents."