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.