ANKARA (AP) – Selahattin Demirtaş, the jailed presidential candidate of the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has praised his party’s success in winning seats in parliament despite “injustices.”
The HDP surpassed the 10 percent threshold needed to make it to parliament in the vote on June 24, winning a projected 67 seats out of 600, according to unofficial results.
Demirtaş, who has been in pre-trial detention since November 2016 for challenging Turkish Sultan, was one of five candidates running against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and was forced to lead his campaign from prison.
On June 25, Demirtaş tweeted: “While other candidates could stage 100 campaign rallies, I was able to send out 100 tweets.”
“The fact that I was forced to campaign in detention conditions was the greatest injustice,” he added.
Demirtaş won 8.4 percent of the presidential vote.
While world leaders have praised the landmark twin elections, Sweden’s foreign minister said Turkey’s democracy has to improve its shortcomings but Erdoğan should be given the chance to do that.
“Turkey should not give others democracy lessons … not when opposition leaders are sitting in jail,” Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said.
She also says the issues with Turkey’s large Kurdish minority and the country’s economic development remain “huge challenges.”