Demirtaş dares Erdoğan to confront him at rally to compare level of support

Former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş has dared President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to ensure his release just for a couple of hours, to see who would gather more crowds in the event of a rally at Istanbul's Yenikapı meeting area.

This collage photo shows Demirtaş (L) and Erdoğan.

Duvar English

In a message from prison, former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtaş has responded to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's targeting of him, telling him to ensure his release to see which of them would attract more support in the case of a rally.

Demirtaş said that the person who gathers less crowd at the rally area will then “give up politics.”

“Erdoğan wondered about me not holding rallies. The HDP is at the squares anyway. But if you really want, come on! Let me come out [of the prison] for two hours and go to Yenikapı with a single microphone. And the next day, you go on [the rally area] with the state's all opportunities. Let the person who gathers one less person give up politics. Are you in?” Demirtaş asked in his message, which was shared on his Twitter account run by his lawyers.

Demirtaş's remarks came after Erdoğan targeted Demirtaş without explicitly mentioning the renowned Kurdish politician's name and claimed that the HDP could no longer attract crowds to a rally.

“The person who is jailed in Edirne tells them [opposition parties] to 'come together and  hold rallies together.' Instead of you saying this, hold a rally there. Does your base have any more power left to hold a rally?” Erdoğan said on Dec. 8, reiterating that he doesn't recognize European rulings seeking Demirtaş's release.

Demirtaş has been jailed pending trial since Nov. 4, 2016 on terrorism-related charges.

The Council of Europe once again last week called on Turkish authorities to release Demirtaş and to abide by the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). 

When asked about the council's decision, Erdoğan however said: "We do not recognize decisions taken by the European Union regarding [philanthropist Osman] Kavala, Demirtaş and so on."