Germany-based Progressive Alliance gave its "2019 Award for Special Political Courage" to our former co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş. Selahattin Demirtaş’s wife Başak Demirtaş received the award in his name, and our vice co-chair Hişyar Özsoy read Selahattin Demirtaş' letter in the ceremony. In his letter Demirtaş said following:
Let me start by expressing my love and warmest regards to each and everyone of you, who came together from different parts of the world to look for ways to grow the struggle for a better, freer, more democratic and more dignified life.
I would like to congratulate you for your efforts to develop democratic alternatives against the current neo-liberal capitalist order that is built upon systemic and unlimited exploitation of nature, labor, and culture. I am confident that you will succeed.
International cooperation and solidarity is vitally important in the face ofincredible insanities of the existing order that threatens human life in its entirety. The task for socialists, social democrats and all other progressive forces is to find creative solutions to wars, displacements, destruction of the nature, massacres against women and children, all kinds of racism, gender discrimination, unemployment, poverty, merciless terrorisms targeting civilians, and many other burning problems. I am sure you will have radical debates, make brave decisions, and take effective steps. Please know that my heart is with you even if I am in a prison cell.
I am very delighted that despite your heavy and busy agenda, you honored me by not forgetting tens of thousands of political prisoners in Turkey, including myself. I have no doubt that the tens of millions of people who are resisting against increasing oppression in Turkey will win the fight for democracy, sooner or later. Such meaningful act of solidarity from dear friends like you surely adds to our hopes and courage. As people who truly believe in democracy, human rights and freedoms, we are committed to maintaining our peaceful struggle with our party the HDP and other opposition forces.
I am being prosecuted with 122 investigations that demand thousands of years of prison sentence for the speeches I had made during the twelve years when I was a member of parliament and then the co-chair of a political party. In reality, though, there is absolutely no legal basis of these prosecutions: I have been in prison since 4 November 2016 as a political hostage. HDP’s former co-chair Ms Figen Yüksekdağ, 7 other former members of parliament, dozens of Kurdish mayors and thousands of political prisoners are in the very same situation – all of them are political hostages. Despite all kinds of oppression and without compromising with our principles and values, we are fighting against tyranny to the best of our ability. Our courage in this fight comes from the hopes and demands our oppressed people for a free and dignified life.
That is why I dedicate this “Progressive Alliance Award 2019 for Special Political Courage,” with which you honored me, to all the peoples of Turkey, first and foremost to the resisting Kurdish and Turkish peoples. And I accept this award on behalf of all political prisoners in Turkey, female political prisoners in particular.
I want to thank you again for your powerful solidarity and wish you success in your struggles. With the wish to see you in a free future, I salute you with my warmest regards. Please extend our regards to wherever you go. I promise that we will resist and win by all means.
Edirne High Security Prison
15 November 2019