Ali Osman Demirtaş shares a last name with one of the most famous politicians in Turkey, but his link to higher echelons of Turkish politics ends there. An independent candidate, Demirtaş hit the headlines when no one except a few passers-by showed up at his rally ahead of Sunday's elections. However, the latest elections, which declared the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) winners, showed he had his fair share of supporters. Demirtaş garnered a total of 504 votes, higher than True Path Party (DYP), formerly a staple of Turkish politics in the 1990s, which secured only fifteen votes in Demirtaş's constituency.
Demirtaş, a local businessman who got his first taste of elections as a district headman, claimed he never had great ambitions in politics. "I never thought I would be a lawmaker. I wasn't excited by my prospects of being elected," he told Anadolu Agency following the election results, and just days after his enthusiastic speech to a bunch of passers-by and police officers present for security made waves in the country.
"I thank everyone who voted for me. What matters is that people should not forget what I said in my rally. I would start a revolution if I won. In the end, the people lost and I won," he said in a serious tone.
After the election results were announced, Demirtaş left for the western city of Balıkesir for a vacation with his wife, who most probably did not vote for him as he earned only one vote from the ballot box where they cast their votes together, according to media reports.
Fortunately, Demirtaş may boast he is still far ahead of the other candidates who addressed empty town squares. Mehdi Sarıkaya, an independent candidate in the southeastern city of Mardin, won only 102 votes in the elections, days after a rally with no attendance at all.