Demirtas urges opposition to prioritize democracy over power transfer

Demirtas urges opposition to prioritize democracy over power transfer
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Former HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtas called on opposition party candidates to focus on fundamental change rather than limiting themselves to coming to power

Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) who is currently imprisoned in Turkey’s Edirne province urged the opposition not to be limited to just the transfer of power, but rather, to focus on a fundamental shift in their thinking patterns and ways of approaching issues.

In an article he wrote for Gazete Duvar titled "What is change?" he urged the candidates to prioritize democracy before they aspire for power.

"If the Republic is to be crowned with democracy in its second century, democratic change must begin with us, each and every one of us. Otherwise, the Republic will not be crowned with democracy for no reason, and no crown will come down from the sky," Demirtas wrote.

He then asked a series of questions to provoke introspection about their personal attitudes towards democracy and change like, "How democratic are we in our social lives, at home, at work,” “How democratic are we towards different beliefs, identities, nature, and animals,” and “How democratic are we in gender relations.”

“The democratization of the state occurs when institutions and rules are operated in accordance with universal human rights and democratic standards. A democratic state is open to its citizens both when making decisions and conducting oversight. A democratic state is one that does not obstruct or suppress its citizens, and respects freedom,” Demirtas said.

He added:

“The guarantee that a democratic state will not become corrupt or turn into a fascist state is a democratic society and democratic individuals. If we do not change ourselves, then even if the state changes from the top down, it will not benefit anyone and such a change will not be permanent. Therefore, a democratic republic can only exist with democratic individuals and a democratic society.”