Sidar Zana Bilir, a Kurdish politician who has applied to the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to run in the June 24 general election from the party’s ranks, was detained by police on Wednesday on charges of “spreading terror propaganda.”
According to ArtıGerçek news portal, Bilir’s house in Batman province was raided by a group of police officers early on Wednesday and she was taken to Batman police station for interrogation.
Turkey will hold a snap presidential election and general election on June 24.
HDP candidates face even greater challenges than other opposition parties in running against Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The party’s former co-leader, Selahattin Demirtaş, has been in jail for a year and a half on terrorism charges and faces up to 142 years in prison if convicted.
In his first interview with international media since being named as a candidate by the HDP on Friday, Demirtaştold Reuters opposition parties would face huge obstacles in campaigning for votes.
“Demonstrations are banned, talking is banned, criticizing the government is banned, even defending peace is considered terror propaganda,” he said. “Hundreds of opposition journalists are arrested, dozens of TV and radio channels are closed.
“It is impossible for there to be fair elections in such an environment,” Demirtaşsaid in a hand-written response to questions submitted by Reuters to his lawyers.