Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli said the Constitutional Court's decision to return an indictment on the closure case of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) back to the prosecutor was null and void “in the people's conscience."
"It is understood that the Constitutional Court is insensitive and far distanced from Turkey's fight against terrorism and separatism...Like the HDP's closure, the closure of the Constitutional Court should be also now a nondeferrable target,” he said in a written statement on March 31.
“Our expectation is that the Court of Cassation's Chief Public Prosecutor's Office restructures the indictment and file a case again for the HDP's closure. The process should absolutely not be prolonged,” he said.
Bahçeli's comments came shortly after the Constitutional Court returned the indictment calling for the HDP to be banned back to Prosecutor Bekir Şahin.
The top court said that the indictment had procedural omissions and that the Court of Cassation needs to re-submit it after completing the necessary details.
On March 17, Prosecutor Şahin filed an indictment with the top court demanding a ban on the HDP over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the culmination of a years-long crackdown against the third-largest party in parliament.
The indictment also sought a political ban on more than 600 HDP members.
The move marks the revival of a long history of Turkey banning political parties, including pro-Kurdish ones.
The prosecutor's move came after the HDP has come under intensified pressure from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its allied MHP.
That coincided with falling poll support for the AKP-MHP coalition as they battle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Elections are not scheduled until 2023.
Davutoğlu denounces Bahçeli's remarks as a 'blow to democracy'
Former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who formed opposition Future Party last year, reacted against Bahçeli over his remarks, saying: “'Declaring the Constitutional Court as an 'institution that needs to be closed' is the biggest blow that can be inflicted on democracy.”
In a video which he shared on his Twitter account, Davutoğlu urged all political parties that “are concerned about Turkish democracy,” nongovernmental organizations, and especially President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to explicitly state their stance with regards to Bahçeli's call.
He said that unless political parties and NGOs release a statement to protect the Constitutional Court, “a process which none of us will approve of will take us to an authoritarian regime in which democracy is completely ignored.” “It is a fundamental duty of all of us that we fight against this,” Davutoğlu said.
Tüm siyasi parti liderlerine ve demokrasiye inanan herkese açık çağrımdır: pic.twitter.com/pkitIsBYmu— Ahmet Davutoğlu (@Ahmet_Davutoglu) March 31, 2021