Politics

Turkish prosecutor seeks closure of opposition party

HDP accused of being undemocratic party that colludes with terrorist group PKK and seeks to destroy unity of state

Aylin Dal and Kemal Karadag   | 17.03.2021
Turkish prosecutor seeks closure of opposition party

ANKARA

Turkey's top prosecutor on Wednesday filed an indictment seeking dissolution of the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), calling it an undemocratic party that colludes with the terrorist group PKK and seeks to destroy the unity of the state.

Bekir Sahin, the chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, filed the indictment at the Constitutional Court, and it was sent to the Supreme Court, also called the Court of Cassation.

The indictment accuses HDP leaders and members of acting in a way that flouts the democratic and universal rules of law, colluding with the terrorist PKK and affiliated groups, and aiming to destroy and eliminate the indivisible integrity of the state with its country and nation.

The move follows growing calls by Turkish political leaders for the HDP to be officially closed down. In recent years, more and more HDP executives and elected officials have been charged with terrorism-related offenses.

Turkish leaders have long argued that the HDP is little more than a front group for the terrorist PKK.

No party can seek ‘to destroy the state’

In a statement, Sahin said that political parties are indispensable elements of democratic political life and institutions that aim to contribute to the economic and social development of society.

The prosecutor stressed that is essential for political parties to achieve these goals peacefully within universal and democratic rules of law and should carry out their activities under the Constitution and the law.

No fundamental rights and freedoms can be used in the form of "activities aimed at destroying and abolishing the indivisible unity of the state with its country and nation,” he underlined.

If it is determined by the Constitutional Court that such acts were committed and became the focus of any political party, it would be permanently dissolved due to it violating Article 68 of the Constitution, he added.

Sahin also said a party’s failure to condemn terrorism is accepted as sufficient justification for closure by the European Court of Human Rights.

Political ban on 600+ HDP members sought

The indictment also sought a political ban on more than 600 HDP members.

A permanently dissolved party cannot be founded under another name in Turkey.

If the Constitutional Court determines that the party members, including the founders facing political bans, cause the party to be permanently dissolved with their statements and actions, these persons cannot be founders, members, directors and supervisors of another party for five years.

In Turkey, the closure of political parties is decided by the Constitutional Court, based on an indictment filed by the Supreme Court Chief Public Prosecutor's Office.

Instead of permanent dissolution, the 15-member Constitutional Court may instead decide to partially or completely cut off state aid to the party, depending on the severity of the acts in question.

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.

*Writing by Havva Kara Aydin


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