Demirtas urges Turkish authorities to lift all isolations on inmates

Demirtas urges Turkish authorities to lift all isolations on inmates
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Demitas urged justice ministry authorities to put themselves in inmates’ shoes and make arrangements for prisons accordingly, saying that “After all, it's not long before you're in our place”

Imprisoned politician Selahattin Demirtas called on Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag to be wise and lift all isolations on inmates, instead of imposing new ones.

Responding Bozdag’s Wednesday remarks that the ministry is working “to see what they can do” over Demirtas’s using Twitter from his prison cell, Kurdish politician said “Put yourselves in our shoes and make arrangements for prisons accordingly. After all, it's not long before you're in our place. So act wisely and lift all isolations for inmates, instead of imposing new ones.”

Sharing photos of HDP's former rallies with wide participation, “The Justice Ministry is looking for ways to mute our voices. But don't they have to find us first? Take a good look at these photos; thousands of us are there. If you cannot find us, then look into our hearts and minds,” Demirtas said.

The former co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has recently intensified his social media performance from his cell in Edirne prison to mobilize an electoral campaign ahead of Turkey’s presidential elections scheduled for June at the latest, urging all to walk together for democracy until the election day.

According to Demirtas, the picture is clear; “Either the Republic will be crowned with democracy and continue on its way, or the one-man regime will evolve into a kind of kingdom, a sultanate.”

Asked by a journalist if there is a “legal loophole” which allowed imprisoned Kurdish leader to post tweets from his cell, Justice Minister Bozdag said he “noticed this” and was “considering examples from the world to see what the ministry can do.”

Inmates in Turkey cannot use social media directly but they can convey messages through their lawyers or families.

Five years ago, where he was one of the six presidential candidates in 2018 elections, Demirtas also used social media very effectively and conducted an entire campaign from his prison cell. At the time, he said via his Twitter account that the military police made a search in his cell to see how he posted tweets from there, but only saw a kettle “which could not be used to post tweets.”

The incarceration has not stopped Demirtas this time either from staging a campaign, relying mostly on Twitter, via his lawyers who post his messages.

Following Bozdag’s remarks, HDP’s parliamentary group deputy chair Meral Danis Bestas also commented on the issue via social media, saying that the kettle will continue to boil.

"Your fear is so great that it is not enough for you to put him behind bars, but you also want to shackle his words. But despite everything, our kettle will continue to boil and we will sip our tea with pleasure behind you,” Bestas said.

Turkey is gearing up for presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for June this year, arguably one of the most critical polls in the country’s history. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will run for another term for presidency in the elections, while six opposition parties, including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) are working to put forward a joint candidate to run against Erdogan. Turkey’s third largest party HDP on the other hand, announced on Saturday that it will nominate its own presidential candidate for the first round of the elections.