Selahattin Demirtaş quits active politics

Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş announced that he had quit active politics, saying that he would continue the resistance from prison with the same tenacity as all his other comrades.

Following his party's vote losses in Turkey's parliamentary and presidential elections, former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has announced that he had quit active politics. On Wednesday, the 50-year-old shared on Twitter two paragraphs from an interview with the news platform Artı Gerçek, which will be published in full on Thursday. Demirtaş said he will continue the resistance from prison - with the same tenacity as all his other comrades - but will withdraw from active politics for the time being.

The HDP, which contested the Turkey election under the umbrella of the Green Left Party due to a threatened closure, suffered significant losses on 14 May. According to the final results of the parliamentary election, the Green Left Party received 8.79 per cent of the vote. This means that it sends 62 deputies to the Turkish National Assembly.

"I sincerely apologise for not having been able to represent politics worthy of our people," Demirtaş further wrote on Twitter. In the post, he also expressed his gratitude for "constructive criticism" that had been directed at him. He said he will now try to benefit from it.

Demirtaş, who led the HDP's gender-parity dual leadership together with Turkish politician Figen Yüksekdağ between 2014 and 2018, has been innocently held in Edirne prison since 2016. While the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has already demanded his release several times, the Turkish government ignores the corresponding rulings.

Last Sunday, incumbent Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the run-off election for the presidency against his challenger Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (CHP). He was confirmed as president for another five years. While Kılıçdaroğlu had promised Demirtaş and other political prisoners their release during the election campaign, Erdoğan hinted in his first speech after the run-off election that there would be no release for Demirtaş under his rule.