Constitutional Court accepts indictment seeking HDP’s closure

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Statement by HDP’s Co-spokespersons for Foreign Affairs Feleknas Uca & Hişyar Özsoy

With the deadly armed attack against the HDP İzmir Provincial Building and resulting death of a young woman still fresh in peoples’ memories, the closure case against the HDP has been made official. The Constitutional Court has now accepted the revised indictment. 

The Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation first applied to the Constitutional Court demanding the closure of the HDP on 17 March 2021. On 31 March, the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court decided to return the indictment to the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office as it contained deficiencies. The revised indictment was submitted on 7 June. Like the initial indictment, in addition to asking for the closure of the party, this demands a political ban for a large number of HDP politicians (down from the original 687 but still nearly 500) and a freeze on the party’s bank accounts. On 21 June, the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court carried out their first examination on the revised indictment and accepted it unanimously. They have also examined the request for barring the party’s bank account holding the treasury grants which are given to all parliamentary parties. The Chief Prosecutor asks to freeze party’s bank account until the case is concluded, but the top court has rejected this request at this stage of the prosecution.

Most of the accusations made by the Chief Public Prosecutor against the HDP concern the Kobanê protests, for which there is an ongoing legal case against 108 HDP politicians, including former Co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ. The accusations concern their roles in the 2014 protests in support of Kobane, and are mainly based on a tweet posted by the HDP’s Central Executive Board (dated 6 October 2014) that invited people to protest in solidarity with the people of Kobane against ISIS and against Turkey’s embargo on Kobane. During the protests, over fifty people were killed, the overwhelming majority of whom were HDP members or sympathizers murdered by Turkish police gunfire. During the protests, the Minister of Interior, Efkan Ala, told HDP deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder that he “could not control unruly elements within the police.” HDP deputies have submitted several proposals to set up a parliamentary commission to investigate the protests and murders, but these proposals were rejected by the ruling AKP-MHP alliance. Instead, HDP politicians are being tried for the protests and the murders, and the party faces a threatened ban. The closure case is clearly the culmination of a crackdown on the HDP that has been going on for several years, and which has seen thousands of party members,

executives and co-mayors tried on mainly terrorism-related charges. This indictment is no different from previous indictments prepared against other political parties coming from the same tradition as the HDP. Although governments have changed with time, the mentality is the same. All these indictments have been prepared in a hurry under political pressure.

The Constitutional Court had the opportunity to reject the indictment. There were enough legal reasons to do so, but it chose not to take this historic opportunity for democracy, peace and justice. Nothing has changed since the first indictment was rejected. The threats and political lynching campaign against our party still continue, and our İzmir Provincial Organization has been brutally attacked. It is not possible to explain the Constitutional Court’s decision in legal terms.

We once again invite the international democratic community to express solidarity and to act against these unabashed efforts to destroy the HDP and deny the will of millions.