Istanbul Mayor Rejects Criticism over Sales of Jailed Kurdish Politician’s Books

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ISTANBUL (Cumhurriyet) — Istanbul mayor Ekrem Imamoglu on January 15 said books by jailed Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas could found in all book shops, after government-affiliated media criticized the opposition-run municipality for selling two short story collections by the imprisoned former party leader via its online retailer.

“Demirtas’s books are sold everywhere. Including state institutions,” Imamoglu said, adding that his first book was also available in the Turkish parliament’s library. “It is also available in bookstores close to the government,” the mayor said.

Imamoglu said only the courts had the authority to ban a book in Turkey and said that media reports accusing the municipality of terrorist propaganda for selling the books aimed at deepening hostility in society.

A supporter holds a portrait of Selahattin Demirtas, detained leader of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) at a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, Turkey, November 8, 2016, in the absence of Demirtas and other HDP lawmakers who were jailed after refusing to give testimony in a probe linked to “terrorist propaganda”. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Demirtas, the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has written two books of short stories since he was jailed in November 2016 on multiple terrorism charges.

The politician also does drawings and joined the satirical cartoon magazine Leman last month, while his first novel Leylan is expected to be on the shelves on January 22.

The media has also targeted the Istanbul’s mayor’s wife, Dilek Imamoglu, for watching a play last week based on a short story in Demirtas’s book, Devran, along with the Kurdish politician’s wife, Basak Demirtas.

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“My wife knows where to go. She is a Turkish woman who can interpret Turkey and the world, and decides where to go accordingly,” Ekrem Imamoglu.

The mayor said the women contributed to the peace efforts in Turkey by watching the play.

“I believe women will make the most important contribution to this country’s unity, solidarity, and fellowship,” he said.

 

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