Foreign Policy magazine published its list of the Leading Global Thinkers of 2015. Selahattin Demirtas, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP) in Turkey, made the list for being a ‘challenger.’ The article below was taken from Foreign Policy.
‘Challenger’ to Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a thorn in his side, and his name is Selahattin Demirtas.
The 42-year-old lawyer led the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in June’s national election. It won enough seats to prevent Erdogan’s party from maintaining its legislative majority.
A ‘Broadening Appeal’
Demirtas broadened the HDP’s appeal, showing it as representing not only Kurdish interests but also liberalism: women’s and gay rights, environmentalism, and opposition to Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian politics. (The party’s slogan is “Great Humanity.”)
As the Turkish president sought to cast Demirtas as someone who “stands behind the terror organization” — referring to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) — the upstart politician instead depicted the HDP as a mediating force between the state and Kurdish insurgents.
His views, charisma, and savvy earned Demirtas the media nickname “the Kurdish Obama” and launched him into Turkey’s political stratosphere, where he seems likely to keep challenging a frustrated Erdogan.[To read more, visit Foreign Policy]