Turkey, HDP party

Prosecutor asks Constitutional Court to close Kurdish nationalist party HDP

If it accepts the lawsuit, the Constitutional Court could decide to outlaw the HDP, which prosecutor accuses of collaborating with the PKK.

The chief prosecutor of the Republic of the Supreme Court of Appeals of Turkey filed a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court on Wednesday calling for the closure of the Kurdish nationalist party HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party), according to Turkish media.

According to the published information, the chief prosecutor Bekir Şahin argues in the case presented before the Constitutional Court of Turkey that the HDP is a non-democratic party whose members violate laws and democratic principles; he also points out that it has obvious links with the terrorist group PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and other related organisations, and that it has the clear objective of destroying the unity of the Republic of Turkey.

Şahin adds that the simple failure to condemn terrorist acts by a party is sufficient reason for their outlawing, according to the jurisprudence of the ECHR. In Turkey, the closure of political parties is decided by the Constitutional Court, which has previously outlawed predecessors of the HDP, such as the DTP, closed in 2009 also due to its members’ links with the PKK.

A party surrounded by controversy since its founding

Since its founding, the HDP has been surrounded by controversy, and although in recent years it has tried to present itself as a left-wing party with a national vocation, its main voting niche continues to be in the south-eastern provinces with a Kurdish majority and among supporters of Kurdish nationalism, and more specifically the PKK.

Although the party officially denies being the political wing of the PKK – considered a terrorist group by the EU – members of the party have often been implicated in acts of PKK propaganda, its deputies even attending funerals of PKK militants killed in clashes with the Turkish security forces.

In addition, dozens of Kurdish mothers have been protesting at the HDP headquarters in Diyarbakır for more than a year demanding that the PKK return their forcibly recruited children to them; in their testimonies, they claim that they were abducted with the help of members of the HDP party, who – according to their testimony – act as recruiters.

Following the prosecution’s request, and if the Constitutional Court finds reasons to carry on with the lawsuit, the high court could decide to close the Kurdish nationalist party HDP. However, the Constitutional Court could also take other measures, such as depriving the party of public funds or prohibiting some of its members from participating in active politics.