A Turkish prosecutor filed a case demanding the closure of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) which won 11.7% support with nearly 6 million votes in the 2018 parliamentary election.
Turkey has a long history of shutting down pro-Kurdish political parties. The People’s Labour Party (HEP) in 1993 and People’s Democracy Party (HADEP) in 2003 were banned from politics. The Democratic Society Party (DTP) was the latest of the series, in 2009.
The crackdown against HDP started to escalate in late 2016, including the detention of its former co-chairs. Since then the Party has faced constant suppression via the politically led judiciary targeting its members, the removal of parliamentary immunities and imprisonment of MPs.
“The AKP government has turned the judiciary into a subsidiary and partisan instrument which it is now using as a stick to design politics. The court case to close our Party is a severe blow to our country’s democracy and law. This government has inscribed its name in history as a coupist government.” HDP said yesterday in a statement. Pervin Buldan and Mithat Sancar, co-chairs of HDP also stated that “HDP is not just a party but also an idea” and “millions of people will stand in defence of their political will and future.”
The details of the indictment were published today by the Anadolu Agency which is considered one of the mouthpieces of the ruling AKP. In the indictment the prosecutor claims that HDP plays an active role in recruiting members for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and demands a five-year political ban on 687 HDP officials. The list includes almost anyone who once served in the party organs and some of the names on the list are already jailed.
The prosecutor, Bekir Sahin, blames the HDP for not standing by the Republic of Turkey in “national affairs.” He listed the names of the military assaults in the indictment as “national affairs”: Olive Branch, Euphrates Shield, Spring Shield and Gare.
The recent indictment demonstrates the scale of pressure on the HDP which has consistently opposed the interventionist politics of Erdogan’s Islamist party and its ultra nationalist allies, advocated democratisation and pushed for the recognition of fundamental rights for Kurdish people.
The court case against the HDP will impact the future of the country and is unacceptable both from a political and a moral perspective.
As SPOT we condemn these attacks on the HDP and its members. We also call on the UK government, Labour Party and trade unions to condemn these attacks on the HDP and call to account President Erdogan and the ruling AKP for its attacks on democracy, rule of law and human rights in Turkey.