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Demirtas looks beyond the 'Kurdish vote'

In seeking to unite the underrepresented on Turkey's left, Selahattin Demirtas, presidential candidate of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party, is leading a grassroots movement similar to that of Islamists in the 1990s.
Selahattin Demirtas, co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) answers a question during a Reuters interview in Berlin April 15, 2013. A top Kurdish politician said on Monday it would be difficult for Kurdish fighters to disarm before leaving Turkey under a peace process, stressing that the key issue was that they depart peacefully without contact with the Turkish military. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government is seeking a weapons-free pullout by militants of the Kurdistan Workers

ANKARA, Turkey — On June 30 in the conference room of a small hotel in Ankara's Kucukesat district, the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HDP) officially nominated Selahattin Demirtas as its presidential candidate for elections scheduled for Aug. 10.

An elderly woman from the audience who introduced herself as Ayse Sari said she and her husband had traveled from the southeastern city of Mardin because they believe Demirtas to be a pious Muslim. She told Al-Monitor, “We had voted for the AKP [Justice and Development Party] for the last couple of elections, but then Demirtas and his colleagues came to our town and spoke with us. In particular, the women were from our own mindset. They listened to us. Now I will vote for Demirtas for president.”

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