23 March 2019 13:07

Selahattin Demirtaş made a call from the prison: Say ‘No to fascism’ with your vote

Incarcerated Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş: “If need be, grin and bear the consequences, but without fail, go to the polls and vote in a way that means ‘No to fascism'.”

Photograph: MA


Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has sent a message about the local elections from the prison where he is incarcerated.

Speaking to Yeni Yaşam newspaper, Demirtaş called on the HDP base to use their votes and said, “If need be, grin and bear the consequences, but without fail go to the polls and vote in a way that means ‘No to fascism.’ The election results may furnish an opportunity for democracy and peace to develop.”

Responding to questions about the 31 March general election, Selahattin Demirtaş had the following take:

“My call and, to an extent, reminder to all our people, all our base, my request is if need be, grin and bear the consequences, but without fail go to the polls and vote in a way that means ‘NO TO FASCISM.’ The election results may furnish an opportunity for democracy and peace to develop. Your vote is very valuable for this reason. Do not even contemplate boycotting the election. We cannot expect you to gladly or willing vote for the CHP or Good Party in places where we have not fielded candidates from our party. This is not realistic, either. But sometimes a single vote contains many messages. Your very vote is a strategic vote that possesses a ‘multimessaging force’.”


“Your vote will be waiting for you next to the ballot box on Sunday 31 March. Do not leave it there to go to waste. Without fail go to the polls and cast that valuable vote of yours. Afterwards it will certainly bring a democratic victory accompanied by a correct political struggle. If I were on the outside, I would most certainly have had more opportunity to convince our voters. But I am doing my best from here even if with limited opportunities.”


“My message to all my friends in the large cities who feel disquiet and are indecisive is: I personally assume all responsibility and I request you to vote.  Let nobody draw the inference: ‘Are there perhaps some secret things we don’t know about with there being this much insistence?’ No. There is nothing hidden or secret. There is open fascism and open, courageous and bold resistance to it. Every opportunity to drive back, limit and weaken fascism will strengthen us. There is no great need for conspiratorial, in-depth analyses: Go to the polls and give a lesson to these low-life policies. Giving a lesson to them is sufficient reason to go to the polls. Greetings, love and success to all our people. We will absolutely win!”

Demirtaş reeled off the following points in response to the question, “The elections are drawing close. The People’s Alliance has placed your party, the HDP, at the centre of its election campaign. It proclaims that the HDP is following a strategy of ousting the trustees in the region and causing loss to the AKP-MHP in the west. What is your take on the course of the election? What are your expectations and predictions?”

  1. We are not terrorists. We are victims of ongoing government terror of years.
  2. We are not separatists. We are a people that has suffered separatism.
  3. Do what you like. Whatever lies, slander or threats you shelter behind, we will bury both your mentality and your trustees at the ballot box.
  4. We have neither an alliance nor cooperation with the CHP or Good Party. But, to dispatch you to the trash basket of history, be it the CHP and Good Party, we will support their candidates in the west and shake your rule.
  5. Those who think HDP supporters are stupid will see the sharpness of their wit at the ballot box on 31 March.


Demirtaş summed up the actions that have spread along with the hunger strike Leyla Güven has started in opposition to solitary confinement as follows:

“The hunger strikes that first found embodiment in Leyla Güven and have reached their 135th day (136th as of today) are an action with the power to rock the AKP-MHP fascism’s fear and tyranny. The weakness of social backing and visibility due to certain disadvantageous conditions of the period we are passing through do not alter the nature of the action.

This stance is the stance of, ‘I accept neither oppression nor fascism. I am firmly on my feet with all my soul and body. I am resisting.’ It is not being staged in connection with the İmralı solitary confinement system and Mr Öcalan not being permitted visits with his lawyers and family.

Everyone must make these demands visible with all means at their disposal. I wish to pass on my condolences to the family of our friend Zülküf and all our people. Leyla Güven and the hunger strikes are clearly a litmus paper for those who wish for peace.”

(Translated by Tim Drayton)