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Turkish Presidential Candidate Gives Jail Cell TV Speech


FILE - People dance in front of an election campaign poster of Selahattin Demirtas, a jailed pro-Kurdish politician and presidential candidate in Turkey's snap presidental poll, in Istanbul, June 5, 2018.

A Turkish presidential candidate made his campaign speech Sunday from jail.

Selahattin Demirtas of the pro-Kurdish People's Democratic Party spoke on television from his cell in western Turkey.

Turkish law grants all presidential candidates 20 minutes of television time.

Demirtas said he was illegally jailed 20 months ago, not because of any crime but because the Turkish government "fears" him.

He warned voters against casting a ballot for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to prevent a "one-man regime."

He said under the new Turkish law, no government institution would be able to oversee Erdogan or limit his rule.

Demirtas told viewers that voting for him and the People's Democratic Party for parliament would be a vote for peace.

Demirtas was arrested on allegations of being a threat to national security. His party is accused of having ties to Kurdish rebels, whom the government regards as terrorists. The party disputes the charge and Demirtas says he will be acquitted.

Turkey is holding early presidential and parliamentary elections on June 24. Voters approved a referendum changing the constitution to scrap the office of prime minister and granting the president executive powers.

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