Constitutional Court accepts indictment seeking HDP’s closure

The General Assembly of the Constitutional Court did the first examination on the second indictment seeking the closure of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in its session today (June 21).

The General Assembly has unanimously accepted the indictment.

The Constitutional Court has also examined the requests for barring the party’s bank account holding the treasury grants. The top court has rejected this measure at this stage of the prosecution.

The Court has ruled that the requests for imposing a political ban on certain HDP politicians and taking a cautionary judgement for the bank account of the party holding the treasury grants shall be examined later.

NOTE: As the Constitutional Court had rejected the first indictment in line with the rapporteur’s request, the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation sent the second indictment against the HDP to the Constitutional Court on June 7, 2021.

How will the process proceed?

When the Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation sues a political party and demands its closure, the Constitutional Court follows the procedure of a “criminal case”. In the preliminary proceedings report, the method to be followed in the process will be determined.

The indictment will be sent to the HDP for the preliminary defense. The indictment will be notified after the preliminary proceedings report is signed. When this process begins, the party will be obligated to submit its preliminary defense within the time period specified by the top court. But the party can make an application to extend it. The Court will conclude this application.

After the HDP presents its preliminary defense, Court of Cassation’s Chief Public Prosecutor Bekir Şahin will be asked his opinion as to the accusations. This opinion will also be sent to the HDP. Then, at dates to be specified by the Constitutional Court, prosecutor Bekir Şahin will make a verbal statement and HDP officials will make a verbal defense.

Following this process, the rapporteur, who will collect information and documents about the case, will prepare a report on the merits. While this process is ongoing, the Chief Prosecutor’s Office of the Court of Cassation and HDP can submit additional evidence or defense.

After the report is handed out to the Constitutional Court members, Court President Zühtü Arslan will set a date for the meeting and, on the specified day, the members will start examining the case as to the merits.

Majority of votes needed

A two-thirds majority, or votes of the 10 of 15 Constitutional Court members, are needed to close the party because of the reasons cited in article 69 of the Constitution or impose other sanctions on the party such as partially or completely depriving it of public aid.

The top court ruling will be submitted to the Court of Cassation Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, which filed the case, and to the related political party, namely the HDP, and will be published in the Official Gazette. Those who have been imposed a political ban will not be able to be founders, members, executives or supervisors of any other political party for five years.