A Constitutional Court rapporteur looking into the closure case of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has concluded that the indictment of the chief public prosecutor of the Court of Cassation was flawed.
The deficiencies relate to the identities and job descriptions of some individuals included in the indictment as well as dates of some protests which they are said to have participated in.
The top court will decide during a meeting on March 31 if it will either send back the indictment to Prosecutor Bekir Şahin for the deficiencies to be tackled or to accept it and allow Şahin to amend his file within a certain period of time.
Once the indictment is accepted, the HDP will be asked to submit its defense on the case. Afterwards, Prosecutor Şahin will present his final opinion (“esas hakkındaki görüş”), which will again be forwarded to the HDP.
The next stage will be to allow HDP officials and Prosecutor Şahin to make a verbal defense.
Upon the completion of this process, the top court's rapporteur will prepare a report of their final opinion (“esas hakkındaki rapor”), which will be given to Constitutional Court members.
If two-thirds of the top court members, i.e. at least 10 of them, rule for the HDP's closure, the decision will be published in the Official Gazette. The top court might also just decide to partially or completely cut off state aid to the party.
If the top court rules that HDP officials' statements and actions were responsible for the party's closure, the relevant individuals will be banned from politics for a period of five years.
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 nationalist allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
That coincided with falling poll support for the AKP and its nationalist allies as they battle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Elections are not scheduled until 2023.