Selahattin Demirtaş

'Kurds Are Not a Danger to Turkey'

selahattin demirtas_dpa
The Co-Chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş (center) attends the opening ceremony of the Turkish Parliament in Ankara, Turkey, in June.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The Kurdish HDP party has entered Turkey’s parliament, which may lead to political change in the relationship between Turkey and its Kurdish minority.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Talks are underway as parties in Turkey try to form a coalition government, the first in more than a decade.
    • The Kurds are an ethnic group in adjacent sections of southeastern Turkey, western Iran, northern Iraq and northern Syria.
    • The Kurdish party’s election candidates included women, gay people and members of other minorities.
  • Audio

    Audio

  • Pdf

Selahattin Demirtaş is co-leader of Turkey’s largely Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party, known as HDP.  In national elections on June 7, for the first time, the HDP managed to cross the 10-percent threshold to enter parliament. The success of the party was a major reason why the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the party of the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, lost its majority in parliament.

The Islamist-rooted AKP is now in talks with the secularist Republican People’s Party (CHP) about a possible grand coalition government.

The Kurdish party’s success came just two years after the start of a peace process in Turkey, with the government in Ankara sitting down to talk with the militant Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK. The PKK took up arms in 1984 in a fight for Kurdish autonomy. The ensuing conflict has killed 40,000 people.

Mr. Demirtaş spoke with German weekly Die Zeit about the pluralism and the changing relationship between Turks and Kurds.

We hope you enjoyed this free article.

Subscribe today and get full access to market-moving news in Europe's leading economy.