Demirtaş says 'will mourn in prison' after his father dies at 78

Renowned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş’s father Tahir Demirtaş died at the age of 78. Jailed Selahattin Demirtaş did not apply to attend his father’s funeral, saying he would not want anything from the government after the mistreatment of other jailed Kurdish politicians during funerals.

Duvar English

Tahir Demirtaş, the father of jailed former People’s Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, on Dec. 31 died at the age of 78 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır.

Demirtaş told his lawyers that he would not apply to attend his father’s funeral, saying “I will not ask for anything from (the government). I will mourn in prison,” Ferhat Yaşar from Gazete Duvar reported. 

Other jailed Kurdish politicians, such as Gültan Kışanak, either were not allowed to attend or were subjected to ill-treatment during the funerals of their relatives. 

The pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party co-chair Tülay Hatimoğulları and deputies Serhat Eren, Adalet Kaya, Sevilay Çelenk, Saliha Aydeniz, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Sezgin Tnarıkulu attended the funeral on Dec. 31 in Mardin province. 

In a note shared on social media, Selahattin Demirtaş said “Don't worry dad, our hearts are bigger than this cell. Forgive me, I kiss your calloused laborer hands a 1000 times, may your place be heaven. I send my thanks and greetings to everyone who sent their condolences and shared our pain.”

In a statement, the DEM Party said Tahir Demirtaş always resisted injustice and unlawfulness. “From prisons to torture, he has never succumbed to any cruelty.”

“Tahir Demirtaş, who spent a lifetime suffering due to the lack of a solution to the Kurdish problem, continued to resist for many years away from his family and loved ones, and did not step back from defending life,” it added.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Özgür Özel also commemorated Demirtaş.