23 March 2021
The chief public prosecutor of Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeals has issued an indictment for the closure of the People’s Democratic Party, HDP, accusing its members of flouting the democratic and universal rules of law. The indictment also requests a political ban on 687 members of the HDP, representing a serious threat to the party.
The HDP has today 55 members of parliament. It is the second largest opposition party and the third largest political party in the country. In the last two years as many as 50 HDP mayors have been removed from office, and a worrying number of HDP members have been detained. In recent days HDP MP, Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who has also been sentenced to imprisonment due to a comment on social media, was stripped of his parliamentary seat by the Speaker of Turkey’s parliament. Former co-chair of the HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş, was sentenced yesterday to three and a half years for comments he made to the press at an airport; and a further two HDP officials have today been accused of spreading terrorist propaganda and being members of a terrorist organisation and will face a lengthy prison term if convicted. These latest developments highlight the difficult circumstances faced today by political forces in the opposition under the rule of president Erdogan.
Members of the HDP have expressed great concern over the future of their party and fear they may be prevented from running in the next parliamentary elections. The SI will continue to closely monitor these grave developments which undermine fundamental principles and pillars of democracy in the country.