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Digital Subscriptions > Newsweek International > 8th June 2018 > Prison Break

Prison Break

Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition leader insulted Erdogan and landed in jail. Now, he’s running for president from his cell

POLITICS

@ocrowcroft

KURDS AND WAY The youthful and stirring Demirtaş has been called the Kurdish Obama.
JOHN THYS/AFP/GETTY

THREE YEARS AGO, SELAHATTIN Demirtaş was celebrating a political revolution in Turkey.

Alarmed by the increasingly autocratic rule of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Kurdish former human rights lawyer had formed a new political party—the People’s Democratic Party, or HDP—and led it to victory in a historic election. For the first time, the country’s long-suppressed Kurdish minority was poised to take seats in Parliament, depriving the divisive president’s party of a majority and curbing his plans to expand his executive powers. “As of this hour, the debate about the presidency, the debate about dictatorship, is over,” Demirtaş declared on election night in June 2015. “Turkey narrowly averted a disaster.”

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Once hailed as a heroine of human rights, Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi is now being condemned for mistreating Muslims.