Full text of Presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş' speech, published on June 6th, 2018 via a call from Edirne Prison
First of all, wherever my voice reaches I send my heartfelt greetings and love for everyone.
I have been illegally held here for almost 20 months as a political hostage with an unlawful, illegal decision. No fair trial has been conducted against me and my friends at all until today. The principle of the rule of law has been openly violated by the political repression on all courts.
Nevertheless, every day while my hands are tied, the government officials, without pause, continue the smear campaigns against me in the newspapers and on TV. While I can’t even use my right to respond, they continue their political ruse by making all kinds of fabricated allegations. But you are aware of all the facts.
I know and I see it. My situation is just an example. Today, the whole country, our citizens have become victims of injustice. Injustice is not just in the court houses. From hospitals to universities, from fields to factories, from government offices to the streets: every day, everywhere, we witness unfair practices against everyone.
Unfortunately, Turkey as a whole, has been transformed into a semi-open prison. They want to build a society of fear, an empire of fear, whereas the function of the state is not to terrify its citizens but to serve them.
But anti-democratic practices in recent years have transformed Turkey’s society into the world's most pessimistic and unhappiest society. Our country is being torn apart through polarization and divisions from the inside, it has also been turned into an isolated and disreputable state on the outside.
As citizens living on the most beautiful, richest lands in the world, of course, none of us deserve such bad governance. We deserve neither sadness nor poverty. This is not our inevitable fate, we are not obliged or condemned to this.
Now all together, hand in hand we can build the future of a democratic Turkey, a new and happy life.
Now is not the time to be defeated or fearful. We can solve all the problems of our country through peace, solidarity and unity. Without demonizing, marginalizing or hampering any citizen, we will become a unified country.
We will not divide up people on basis of their political party, identity, sect, or gender. Democracy and the Rule of Law will be made supreme in the state. If the state is our state, if the country is our joint homeland, then it is our duty to create a governance system that treats everyone in fair and equal manner.
No one should feel like a step-child. In order to prevent anyone from experiencing discrimination, we are going to implement policies to embrace all 81 million citizens.
We will make the most of our rich lands, seas, historical and cultural heritage. Rather than concrete and unnecessary construction, we will invest in soil, labor, hard work, production, and the sciences. And we will surely defeat this poverty. The shame belongs to the government that forces people to live in poverty in a country as prosperous as Turkey. We will surely save our country from this embarrassment.
We are now preparing for the elections with a more hopeful, more exciting, more enthusiastic beat. I am here within four walls, but I know that thousands of Demirtaş’ are out in fields, on farms, picking hazelnuts. Demirtaş is in the mine, in the factory. He is in class, at university, on the ground. Demirtaş is on construction sites, on strikes, in protests. He is the fired, he is the unemployed, the poor. He is the youth, the woman and the child. He is Turkish, Kurdish, Circassian, Pomak, Bosnian. He is Alevi, Sunni, but he is still hopeful and vigorous. Demirtaş is halay, govend, horon.
Demirtaş is not the one held in a cell in Edirne; Demirtaş is you. Trust yourself. Honour yourself. Vote for yourself. Say “One vote for the HDP, one vote for Demirtaş.”
Remember, a vote changes a lot. It changes with you, my beautiful brothers and sisters. Now, it is time to change for better days. Let's do it together, let's win together.
I salute all of you with my warmest feelings.
We will absolutely win and we will surely meet on days of freedom. Stay well.
Presidential Candidate of the HDP