Başak Demirtaş, the wife of imprisoned former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, has taken an active role in the Green Left Party’s election campaign, despite being attacked by pro-government trolls.
Mrs Demirtaş has not only been sharing audio messages from her husband, who has been imprisoned in Edirne Prison for seven years, with crowds at rallies, she has travelled across Turkey to attend the Green Left Party’s rallies and make speeches, which have attracted great interest.
Başak Demirtaş was subjected to several attacks during her activism and support for her husband’s freedom. In 2020, a sexist attack against her on social media drew strong reactions from politicians, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul chair Canan Kaftancıoğlu, and women’s organisations.
In 2022, a pro-government woman identifying herself as Başak Demirtaş called the Edirne prison where Selahattin Demirtaş was being held, claiming that their eldest daughter was seriously injured in an accident.
Despite these attacks, Demirtaş has remained active in supporting the Green Left Party and her husband, who was the party’s presidential candidate in the 2018 election and conducted his campaign from prison.
Mrs Demirtaş, a Turkish teacher and writer who graduated from Dicle University Faculty of Education, has become a prominent figure in the Green Left Party’s campaign for the 2023 election. She resigned from teaching after working for 14 years and has been regularly travelling from Diyarbakır to Edirne to visit her husband.
Demirtaş explained her reasons for campaigning, saying “I couldn’t just sit at home and tweet during such a time. I don’t think anyone should do that either,” in an interview with T24’s Murat Sabuncu.