Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party reelects co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag

ANKARA,— 25 Jan 2016 – Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish party on Sunday reelected its co-leaders Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas, as it seeks to maintain support amid the deadly conflict in the southeast. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) unanimously reelected Yuksekdag and Demirtas as co-leaders at a congress in Ankara, the party said in a statement. The party splits its top posts between a man and a woman to promote gender equality.

The charisma of Demirtas — a top foe of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — helped the HDP win seats as a party for the first time in the Turkish parliament last year.But with the government waging a relentless campaign against Kurdish militants in Turkish Kurdistan, the Kurdish region in the southeast of the country, the HDP faces a delicate task to build on its support.Erdogan accuses the HDP of being the political front of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) rebels.Demirtas, nicknamed the “Kurdish Obama” for his smooth rhetorical skills said earlier this month that he is reluctant to remain in his position in the party for a fourth term.The HDP denies this and says it is seeking a just solution for Turkey’s Kurdish minority within the framework of the modern state. The HDP leaders gave their speeches against the backdrop of the Turkish flag, the slogan “common homeland, equal citizenship” and a picture of the PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah Ocalan.