46 institutions, including international law, rights and women’s organizations, have released a statement about the closure case against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) pending before the Constitutional Court.
Released in Turkish and English, the statement has recalled that the top court will hand down its ruling in the upcoming months.
Addressing the Constitutional Court, the organizations have urged the top court “to ensure that judicial proceedings take place in full compliance with domestic and international fair trial standards, including the principle of judicial independence and impartiality and the rights of the defence.”
“We also urge the Turkish government to respect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by refraining from directly or indirectly influencing the Court’s decision,” they further demanded.
The organizations briefly stated the following:
‘No concrete or reliable evidence’
“The undersigned organisations, active in the field of democracy and human rights protection and promotion, are deeply concerned about the ongoing case before the Constitutional Court in Turkey regarding closure of the opposition party Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“Our organisations urge the authorities to uphold the right to political representation in Turkey, and to ensure that any proceedings against political parties and their representatives fully comply with international standards for a fair trial, including the right to an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and defence rights.
“Should the Constitutional Court endorse the Chief Public Prosecutor’s request and rule in favour of its demand to close the HDP permanently or partially, or to completely deprive it of treasury aid, HDP will cease to exist.
“Its representatives who are allegedly responsible for the facts that – in the Chief Public Prosecutor’s opinion – would warrant the party’s dissolution will also be banned from political activity for 5 years.
“No concrete or reliable evidence attributable to the HDP as an institution was presented in the indictment, and no justification was given for the request for the party’s dissolution, which would violate the right to political representation of over 10 percent of the voters in the last elections.
Emphasis on ‘backsliding’ in rights and freedoms
“The proceeding takes place against the backdrop of severe democratic and rule of law backsliding in Turkey.
“Despite constitutional amendments introduced as part of the European Union accession process in the 2000s that made party closures – common in the 1990s – more difficult, the Constitutional Court shut down the Party for a Democratic Society (DTP), a political party preceding the HDP, in 2009.
“Turkey has been repeatedly condemned in recent years by the European Court of Human Rights for violating the convention. This includes cases regarding the DTP’s closure, HDP and its members, where the Court found the procedures initiated against them to be in violation of the complainants’ rights under the Convention. The Turkish government has consistently failed to comply with ECtHR judgements, which warranted the launch of an infringement procedure against Turkey by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on February 2, 2022.
“Repeated statements by ruling party AKP and its ally MHP’s spokespersons, calling for HDP’s closure and for its members to be banned from politics also point to an attempt by the government to undermine the ECtHR’s authority and interfere in proceedings before national courts, including the Constitutional Court, in breach of the principle of judicial independence from other State powers.
Call for ‘independence, impartiality’
“Our organisations are deeply concerned about the impact that the Constitutional Court’s decision could have on the defendants’ rights and on political democracy in Turkey. We call on the Constitutional Court to ensure that judicial proceedings take place in full compliance with domestic and international fair trial standards, including the principle of judicial independence and impartiality and the rights of the defence.
“We also urge the Turkish government to respect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by refraining from directly or indirectly influencing the Court’s decision, and to uphold the rights to political representation and democratic participation, which are a precondition for the respect of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Turkey.”
The undersigned organizations
– Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)
– Associació Catalana per a la Defensa dels Drets Humans (ACDDH) – Catalonia
– Asociación Libre de Abogadas y Abogados, (ALA), Madrid
– Association for Monitoring Equal Rights
– Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD)
– Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
– Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
– Center of research and elaboration on democracy/Group for international legal intervention (CRED/GIGI)
– Civic Space Studies Association
– Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)
– Coordinamento Italiano Sostegno Donne Afghane (CISDA)
– Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh (DLAB)
– Demokratische Juristinnen und Juristen Schweiz (DJS)
– Eskubideak, Basque Country
– European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
– European Democratic Lawyers (AED)
– General Federation of Trade Unions (UK)
– Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
– Human Rights Agenda Association
– Human Rights Association
– Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
– International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
– Italian Democratic Lawyers / Giuristi Democratici
– International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
– International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
– KulturForum TürkeiDeutschland e.V.
– Legal Team, Italy
– Life-Memory-Freedom Association (Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük)
– MAF-DAD e.V (Association for Democracy and International Law )
– National Lawyers Guild International (USA)
– National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Philippines (NUPL)
– People’s Law Office / International
– Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD)
– Republikanischer Anwältinnen – und Anwälteverein e.V. (RAV), Germany
– Rete Jin Italia (Jin Net)
– Rights Initiative Association
– Rosa Women’s Association
– Social Policy, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD)
– Syndicat des Avocats de France (SAF)
– Syndicat des Avocats pour la Démocratie, Belgium (le SAD)
– The Indian Association of Lawyers
– The National Association of Democratic Lawyers, (NADEL), South Africa
– Transport Salaried Staffs Association
– Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers
– Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen (VDJ)
– Vereniging Sociale Rechtshulp Nederland