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HDP Leader Demirtaş from prison: Erdogan committed a civil coup by obstructing the discovery of all dimensions of July 15

In a recent interview with German daily Neue Zuercher Zeitung, HDP Leader Selahattin Demirtaş stated, himself and other arrested MPs are taken as ‘political hostages.’ Demirtas reminded in the interview that there are more than five thousand party officials are currently imprisoned.

Demirtaş also, from the Edirne prison he has been staying since last November stated that Erdogan committed a civil coup by his party obstructing the discovery of all the dimensions of July 15 coup. Demirtas, when asked when he think he can be released, stated since there is no possibility for him to be tried justly, it will depend on political developments.

Interview highlights below:

“We will not let you be the president” is not the only reason: It is not just this sentence, of course. If it were, it would be just me that was arrested. But today, there are more than 5000 arrested HDP supporters in Turkish prisons. Nevertheless, [Erdoğan] is acting with obvious hostility against my person while trying to pressure the judiciary.

We’re political hostages: I have been under arrest for 8 months. However, I have not appeared in court even once. I do not even know in which court and at what date I will be tried. It is as if we are being held as political hostages. Erdoğan’s influence and pressure on the judiciary is well known. By declaring me to be a terrorist before I have even appeared before a judge, he is both committing a crime and openly instructing the judiciary. Of course, we will continue our legal struggle with determination.

Erdoğan committed a civil coup: The AKP obstructed the discovery of all the dimensions of the July 15 coup attempt and covered up the political foot of the coup. They refuse to reveal why the putschists were not arrested before initiating the coup attempt. There is no doubt that this was a coup attempt. However, the AKP’s mistakes, omissions and crimes about the failed coup have been covered up. Erdoğan turned this coup attempt into an opportunity to carry out a civilian coup against the opposition in Turkey. We continue to experience the effects of this civilian coup.

CHP criticism can be postponed: It is important to unite society together on the common denominator of justice. Ensuring coordination and united resistance among social segments takes precedence over forming an alliance between political parties. CHP and HDP have both criticized against each other. However, these criticisms can be postponed for this period.

When do you get out?: The struggle we will conduct outside and inside will determine when we are released. Since there is no possibility of a fair trial, political developments will determine my judicial process. Our society’s struggle for freedom and our situation are interconnected. But regardless of how long I stay, I will continue to struggle. I will always take ownership of the principles of democracy, freedom and peace.

My parliamentary immunity is ongoing: All my letters are inspected by the prison administration. Despite my continued MP and parliamentary immunity, my texts containing political messages are being controlled and censored.

The biggest prison is in your head: Prison is meant to contain not the body, but rather the mind and thoughts. The largest prison is the prison built in your head. If your thoughts are free, you can resist all kinds of physical difficulties. We are held here in a small cell, there is no aspect that is not difficult, but we remain free and strong. Our mood is very positive.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil: You should speak out about the common values of Europe, human rights and the culture of democracy coming under attack from your governments or your leaders. While a fascist regime is being built step by step in Turkey, some European leaders submit to Erdoğan’s blackmail with the expectation of winning elections. Turkey is becoming an increasingly authoritarian country. Radical Islamist movements are tolerated and even supported by the AKP government. This situation has reached a point that threatens the security of Europe. Unfortunately, some European leaders, who are not foresighted and focus only on short-term politicking, have also contributed to the problem. European leaders prefer a see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil approach while the AKP and Erdoğan work to oppress the Kurdish people, who have heroically and selflessly waged a successful campaign against ISIS in the Middle East. Of course our struggle does not rely on trusting them.

Translated by Osman Bilgin

Edited by Oya Aktaş

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