Turkish Justice Ministry: Jailed presidential candidate Demirtaş’s right to be elected not violated

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has said jailed politician Selahattin Demirtaş’s right to be elected was not violated although he had to conduct his campaign for the June 24 presidential election from jail.

Demirtaş, a former co-chairperson of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) who has been kept in pre-trial detention since November 2016, ran in the June 24 presidential election as the HDP’s candidate.

Although he repeatedly applied to the courts for his release before the election so that all candidates for office could wage an election campaign on an equal footing, Demirtaş was not released from prison.

The politician, who lost the election, petitioned Turkey’s Constitutional Court following the election on the grounds that his right to be elected was violated.

Responding to Demirtaş’s application to the top court, the Justice Ministry claimed there was no violation of Demirtaş’s rights because he was able to wage his campaign from jail. The ministry cited two speeches made by Demirtaş and broadcast by the state-run Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), campaign work carried out by party officials, messages he sent through his lawyers and advisors from prison, the statements he made on social media through his lawyers and a telephone call he made to his wife during which he spoke in the form of a campaign speech.

The ministry’s response, which it sent to the Constitutional Court, was shared by Demirtaş’s lawyer, Mahsuni Karaman, from his Twitter account on Wednesday. Karaman listed the points cited in the ministry’s response as the “favors of the state” to Demirtaş.

Hüseyin Yuka

Meanwhile, the Turkish government on Thursday appointed a trustee to a district municipality in southeastern Adıyaman province after its mayor from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Regions Party (DBP) was arrested on terrorism charges.

Hüseyin Yuka, the former mayor, was detained on Aug. 16 on allegations of supporting a terrorist group along with two Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) officials in Adıyaman’s Kömürlü district following a bomb explosion that left four Turkish soldiers dead.

The bomb, which killed one soldier on the scene, was reportedly set by outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. The three other soldiers were killed by what was described as “friendly fire.”

Yuka was dismissed from his post by the Interior Ministry on the day he was arrested by a local court.

Although DBP politicians had won 102 mayoral posts in the local elections of 2014, the Turkish government has dismissed 95 of them. Including HDP mayors who were dismissed from office, the figure exceeds 100. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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