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Turkey's opposition vows to lead struggle for peace and democracy

TURKISH opposition politician Sezai Temelli vowed today to end fascism once and for all and lead the struggle for peace and democracy.

Speaking at a meeting of People’s Democratic Party (HDP) MPs, Mr Temelli, the party’s co-leader, assessed the political situation in Turkey just over two years after the “coup” against the HDP, in which MPs and activists were arrested in night-time raids across the country.

He accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of trying to shut down the HDP by continuing the arrest of its members.

“The reality is that of a power that prevents people from doing politics, from exercising their free will,” he said, noting that HDP officials have been detained in municipalities in the largely Kurdish south-east and replaced by state-appointed trustees.

Mr Erdogan’s “political coup” against the HDP on November 4 2016 covered every aspect of life, Mr Temelli said, accusing the government of waging a policy of violence against women.

“It is this policy that keeps [former HDP co-chair] Figen Yuksekdag and [HDP MP and Democratic Society Congress (DTK) co-chair] Leyla Guven in prison,” he said.

Ms Guven, who was detained in January after making comments opposing Turkey’s invasion of Afrin in northern Syria, announced today that she had started an “indefinite and irreversible hunger strike” after her latest application for release was rejected.

Mr Temelli said the HDP would be “raising the peace, democracy and freedom struggle” in next year’s crucial local elections.

“We believe that the most powerful answer on March 31 will be the struggle of the people. 

“These people will send the AKP the strongest message, from Agri, Hakkari, Silopi, Cizre and Amed. We will be working non-stop to make sure we dump fascism once and for all,” he vowed.

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