Turkey bans poem written by imprisoned HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas

Peoples' Democratic Party co-leader Selahattin Demirtas smiles at a rally.

A poem written by imprisoned Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has been banned by the Mardin Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, according to Turkish media.

The poem, entitled “Contagious courage”, was written by the left-wing leader and sent to Birgun daily last week from Edirne Prison, where Demirtas has been held pending trial, since 4 November.

It is thought the poem, which calls for resistance in the face of oppression and tyranny, was banned on the grounds of “terrorist propaganda”.

A banner with the poem written on it was confiscated by police in Mardin’s Dargecit district alongside a poster of Demirtas on Tuesday morning.

In defiance of the ban people have been sharing the poem on social media.

11 HDP lawmakers, including the party’s co-leaders, have been jailed on terror charges pending trial since November 2016. Another 2,500 party members are also behind bars, according to officials.

The crackdown on the Kurdish issue focused party has been criticised by international human rights organisations and political parties.