‘Courage is contagious’ Demirtas says in message from prison ahead of referendum

Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has issued a written message ahead of Turkey’s constitutional referendum from Edirne prison where he has been detained since 4 November 2016.

The co-leader made an appeal to the supporters of all the parties in the parliament, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP), and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

“I invite you to say no to fear,” Demirtas said. “Courage is contageous. Let’s reach out to each other and spread courage amongst us without uttering anything about Kurds, Turks, Alevis, Sunnis, AKP, CHP, MHP and HDP. Be assured, good will prevail, we will all prevail.”

“We have been subjected to severe crimes and we still are. Every single judge is aware of that but some have resigned themselves to fear. My call to them is that you could at least preserve your honour by resigning from your positions, closing yourselves in your homes and be afraid there. In this way, your fear won’t hurt anyone else. I celebrate all our citizens that represent the courage to resist without resigning to fear, from inside the prisons and on the outside. Those who have struggled have determined the democratic future of Turkey, and will continue to do so,” Demirtas added.

The HDP co-leader made a call to people to vote ‘no’ in the 16 April referendum on expanding presidential powers in Turkey.