Demirtas: It would be a tragedy if opposition fails to unite over a joint candidate against Erdogan
Imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas said it would be a tragedy if Turkey’s opposition fails to unite over a joint candidate against Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the presidential election.
“We will see if the opposition as a whole would be able to face this difficult election process and present the people a democratic victory. It would be a tragedy if the opposition parties cannot unite over a joint candidate with a manifest for democracy,” pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party’s (HDP) former co-chair Demirtas wrote in an article for T24 news website from Edirne Prison on Tuesday.
Stating that the election race would not take place on equal terms, Demirtaş said the Erdogan government will use all means at its disposal in a disproportionate and unfair way.
“They will put all kinds of dirty and frightening methods into effect that our minds and dreams cannot conceive,” he said, warning that 2023 would be a year of the biggest change.
“The picture is very clear; either the Republic would be crowned with democracy and continue on its way, or the one-man regime will evolve into a kind of kingdom, a sultanate,” Demirtas said.
Turkey is facing presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June this year, arguably one of the most critical polls in the country’s history. Turkish President Erdogan, supported by his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) governing ally far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will run for another term for presidency in the elections. Six opposition parties, including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) who teamed up to restore a parliamentary system in Turkey, are also working to put forward a joint candidate to run against Erdogan.
Turkish parliament’s second largest opposition HDP on the other hand announced in July that it is open to negotiations over the idea of supporting a joint opposition candidate for the presidential elections but will also consider putting forward its own candidate should its concerns over democracy were not addressed.
Demirtas said the ruling party will do everything for not losing its reign and criminal power, and will not hesitate to add new ones to its existing crimes.
“Whatever the government does, no matter what tricks it uses, the people have made their decision. The task for the opposition is to turn this decision of the people into a power of change with unity and determination. An opposition which fails to do so, falls under a historical plague,” he said.
Demirtas said the opposition should unite around a joint candidate representing the principles of democracy and ask the people during the election campaign whether;
Freedom or slavery?
A pitch dark or a bright future?
Oppression and cruelty or peace and tranquility?
Hunger and misery or prosperity and abundance?
One man or 85 million?
Dictatorship or democracy?
Demirtas also called on the opposition parties to have trust in people.
Demirtas remains behind bars since 2016 on terrorism charges, despite several domestic and international court orders for his release, including the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).