He grew up and attended secondary school in Diyarbakır. He then studied business at university in Muğla, where he was arrested in 1993 for his political activities. He spent the following 12 years in prison. After his release he became the founding president of an association for the development of civil society.
At the end of 2007 he was arrested on his return from a European tour an imprisoned on charges of forging a document to evade military conscription in a trial that was widely seen as political. He was released on Monday 28 April 2008 by a military court and enlisted in the army the following day. Turkish men are required to serve in the army for up to 15 months after the age of 20 unless they have health problems that prevent them from fulfilling military duty.
His brother Selahattin Demirtaş is also an active BDP politician.
- Official website of the DTP (in Turkish)
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