A prosecutor called on Tuesday before the Turkish Constitutional Court for the banning of the pro-Kurdish HDP party for “terrorism”, a few months before the presidential and legislative elections.
The Attorney General of the Court of Cassation accuses the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the third political party in the Turkish Parliament, of being “organically” linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group described as “terrorist by Ankara and its Western allies.
“They operate almost like a recruitment office” for the PKK, prosecutor Bekir Sahin told the press on leaving the Constitutional Court, according to the state news agency Anadolu.
The HDP, which denies being linked to the PKK, has a minimum of one month to present an oral defense, a party spokesman told AFP.
A two-thirds majority of the 15 members of the Constitutional Court is required to enact the closure of the main pro-Kurdish party.
On Thursday, the Turkish Constitutional Court had already decided, by eight votes to seven, to suspend public aid to the HDP.
539 million Turkish liras (US$28.7 million) were to be granted by the Turkish state to the HDP this year, a third of which by January 10.
Here again, the party has a minimum period of one month to prepare its defence. He called the decision a “misuse of the law”.
The HDP, which won 12% of the vote in the last general elections, is considered by some analysts to be the “kingmaker” of the next presidential election, scheduled for the spring.
A pet peeve of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he helped strip him of his parliamentary majority in 2015, the HDP has been relentlessly repressed since 2016, when its leader Selahattin Demirtas was arrested and remain imprisoned.
Scores of HDP officials and supporters were also arrested, and dozens of elected HDP mayors in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast were replaced by government-appointed administrators.
The procedure for banning the party had been launched in March 2021. Criticism against the HDP had redoubled in intensity the previous month, after an abortive Turkish military intervention aimed at rescuing 13 hostages held by the PKK in Iraq, which had resulted in the death of all the prisoners.
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