The latest attack against the HDP: What happens next?

What is clear is that the latest move against the HDP will result in more rights violations and more pressure on press freedoms and freedom of speech in Turkey. The regime will continue to criminalize and target opposition voices, while presenting fictitious “reform” and “rights-based proposals” to the West. 

A new lawsuit to close Turkey’s Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) was announced on the same day that HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu was stripped of his parliamentary status.
 
These exceedingly undemocratic, unlawful developments did not come as a surprise. For months, there has been relentless talk and media coverage surrounding closing the HDP. Some have assumed that President Erdoğan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will continue to suppress the HDP, but that it would not go so far as to close the party.
 
However, AKP's alliance partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and other far-right political fractions have been campaigning feverishly to ban the HDP from politics. The Homeland Party (Vatan Partisi), which received 0.23 percent of the vote in the 2018 elections, put posters around Istanbul calling for the HDP to be shut down. Homeland Party newspaper Aydınlık also handed out pamphlets with the same message.
 
Opposition right-wing İYİ Party’s stance is similar; Its leader Meral Akşener did not openly call for the HDP to be shut down, but pointed to the laws allowing for it. Although the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader made statements in opposition to shutting down a party, in parliament, Kılıçdaroğlu preferred not to stand up for the HDP or Gergerlioğlu, but instead to make phone calls to express his sympathy.
 
It is important to note that prosecutor Bekir Şahin, was appointed as the Court of Cassation chief prosecutor by President Erdoğan in June 2020. Şahin was fourth among the candidates for the position. 
 
What will happen next?
 
The HDP is not the first pro-Kurdish party to be removed from Turkish parliament, but the seventh.
 
HDP politicians, former politicians, and political analysts believe that, even if the party is shut down, a new party will be formed and opposition support will grow, as has happened before.
 
However, history will not necessarily repeat itself. While today’s political conditions have been compared to those of the 1990s, there are some key differences: The parliamentary system is over; Rule of law is over; The Turkish Presidential system will use any opportunity to win the next elections via gerrymandering plans on the table.
 
Necati Özkan, who directed the Ekrem İmamoğlu’s election campaign, wrote on twitter that Turkey will be divided in 300 election circles, each circle will select two MPs. The AKP-MHP alliance will get both, even if they only won by one vote. Essentially establishing a “winner will take all” system.
 
The closure of the HDP and banning of HDP politicians will foment a reaction among voters. But whether this will be enough to form a new opposition front remains to be seen. Will a new party more effectively address and confront the challenges presented by the regime? Is it even possible for the opposition to form an alliance with a new pro-Kurdish party? It seems unlikely.
 
What is clear is that the latest move against the HDP will result in more rights violations and more pressure on press freedoms and freedom of speech in Turkey. The regime will continue to criminalize and target opposition voices, while presenting fictitious “reform” and “rights-based proposals” to the West. 

April 09, 2021 Istanbul is on sale