(Bloomberg) -- A prominent Kurdish politician who’s spent the past half decade in prison said he’s quitting Turkish politics after trying to rally opposition in a failed bid to topple President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Days after the Turkish leader beat back the challenge from Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Selahattin Demirtas apologized in a post on Twitter for being unable to offer a political approach “worthy of our people.”

“While continuing the struggle with resilience, like every companion of mine in prison, I am leaving active politics at this stage,” Demirtas said on Wednesday.

Demirtas is a former co-leader of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, or HDP, the main pro-Kurdish group that commands just under 9% of the electorate. His imprisonment has drawn widespread criticism from human rights organizations that consider it to be politically motivated. 

In a presidential runoff, Erdogan secured another five-year term by winning 52% of the votes, while Kilicdaroglu received 48%. Demirtas actively supported Kilicdaroglu’s campaign.

Demirtas became a prominent figure in Turkish politics almost a decade ago, with an appeal that extended far beyond his Kurdish base during a 2014 presidential race. Despite his imprisonment, he maintains a significant influence among Kurds in Turkey, a minority that makes up nearly a fifth of the population of 85 million.

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