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Calls mount for Turkey to release jailed Kurdish politician ahead of vote

Nationalist presidential candidate Meral Aksener has joined a growing chorus demanding the release of politician Selahattin Demirtas, who is staging a quixotic bid to become head of state from his prison cell.

Right-wing politician Meral Aksener has called on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to release their mutual rival Selahattin Demirtas from prison, joining a growing array of voices demanding freedom for the Kurdish politician who is running in the presidential election next month.

Demirtas' ongoing detention has added to broader concerns about whether the June 24 elections, which Erdogan pulled forward by 17 months, will be democratic at a time when the country is under a state of emergency that has allowed the incumbent president to largely rule by decree.

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