Selahattin Demirtaş, the co-Chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), said in a statement released through his lawyer that the party will resist the ongoing purges and arrests against Kurdish politicians.
Demirtaş was arrested by the Turkish authorities in Diyarbakir city on Thursday midnight. He has repeatedly criticized President Erdogan’s crackdown against Kurdish communities and the erosion of political freedoms in Turkey. Demirtaş’ arrest comes just one day after the HDP’s other co-Chair, Figen Yüksekdağ, received a 10-month jail sentence for “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.”
“We are facing a different stage of the ongoing civil coup led by the government and the palace. My colleagues and I will continue to stand strong against this unlawful coup everywhere and at every stage,” he said.
“We want you to know that we will abide by the struggle for democracy, freedom and peace, waged with devotion by our people,” he added.
“These days of tyranny will end sooner or later in the face of our resistance. Those who think they can break our will with cheap conspiracies only confirm their own pitiful nature. No matter what the circumstances are, we will continue our democratic and political struggle. We will repeat our calls for peace. Sincere greetings to all friends,” Demirtaş stated.
Turkey started to arrest pro-Kurdish party leaders on Thursday and shut down the internet.
The actions of the Turkish government were widely condemned by European and US officials.
“Press Freedom and internet access essential to democratic and economic health. Urge Turkey to restore information access to its citizens now,” Tom Malinowski, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor said on Friday.
“When taking legal action against elected reps, democracies have higher duty to justify actions and preserve confidence in justice. As friend and ally, deeply troubled that government of Turkey has detained HDP leaders and other MPs while blocking internet access,” he said.