Jailed Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) politicians Selahattin Demirtaş and Selçuk Mızraklı have shaved their hair in solidarity with women and others protesting the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Jîna Mahsa Amini.
“We feel in the depths of our hearts the pain of Mahsa Amini, who was murdered by Iran’s morality police because some strands of her hair were showing,” former HDP co-chair Demirtaş wrote in a note dated Friday, from the Edirne Prison.
“It is not the responsibility of only women to resist oppression and tyranny,” Demirtaş continued. “To support the fight for equality and freedom in Iran that women bravely lead, me and my cellmate Dr Selçuk Mızraklı shaved our hair.”
Mızraklı, the elected mayor of Turkey’s largest Kurdish majority province Diyarbakır (Amed), has been behind bars since October 2019. He was dismissed from office over allegations of terrorism and replaced with a government-appointed proxy, a fate shared by 59 out of 65 municipalities the HDP won in the 2019 elections.
Demirtaş himself was arrested in November 2016, together with his then-co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ and several other HDP MPs. All politicians face charges related to an alleged connection to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey designates a terrorist organisation.
“All orders of tyranny will sooner or later fall in the face of people’s resistance,” Demirtaş concluded, offering condolences for the Amini family and “our people”.
Thousands have taken to the streets in Iran since Friday when Jîna Amini lost her life after three days in a coma. Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her compulsory hijab improperly. While authorities maintain the young woman had a heart attack, witnesses report seeing her brutally beaten as she was taken into police custody. Her family have said Amini did not have any heart issues before the arrest, and that they did not believe official statements.
Demonstrations in solidarity continue in Turkey as well.
“Women’s freedom is the freedom of all society, all violence targeting women will one day find all of society stand against it as it is happening in Iran today,” the HDP said in a statement.
“We stress once again that those who implement a rule of oppression, tyranny and despotism will be defeated by the peoples’ demand for democracy and freedom. We stand with the women’s resistance that develops on this demand,” the party said.