Demirtas: 'Kurdish Obama' saves minority's prized political voice

Co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HDP) Selahattin Demirtas speaks in Ankara on November 1, 2015Selahattin Demirtas, the charismatic leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party, remains the biggest thorn in the side of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after managing to hold onto his HDP’s cherished parliamentary representation, against considerable odds. Nicknamed the “Kurdish Obama” for his smooth rhetorical skills, Demirtas propelled his Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) into mainstream politics with a message that embodies the hopes of Turkey’s biggest minority, but also appeals to non-Kurds. Under the 42-year-old former lawyer, the HDP became the first pro-Kurdish party in Turkey’s history to win enough votes to sit in parliament in June — taking support from Erdogan’s AKP in the southeastern Kurdish heartland and among non-Kurdish Turkish liberals.

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