Top court rapporteur calls for acceptance of HDP closure indictment

The Constitutional Court's rapporteur has demanded that the indictment seeking the HDP's closure be accepted. In such a case, the HDP will be asked to submit its defense with regards to the allegations.

HDP supporters wave party flags in front of Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse in this file photo.

Duvar English 

A Constitutional Court rapporteur looking into the closure case of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has demanded that the indictment of the chief public prosecutor of the Court of Cassation be accepted.

In his preliminary report, the rapporteur called for the rejection of the prosecutor's demand of a freeze on the party's bank accounts, Habertürk reported on June 18.

Once the indictment is accepted, the HDP will be asked to submit its defense on the case. Afterwards, prosecutor Bekir 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.

In a revised 850-page-long indictment, prosecutor Şahin on June 7 demanded a political ban for nearly 451 HDP officials as well as a freeze on the party's bank accounts. 

The prosecutor also argued that the party closure was an implementation adopted "in all advanced democracies." 

In the culmination of a years-long crackdown against the HDP, prosecutor Şahin submitted the first indictment calling on March 17. 

The Constitutional Court ruled that the indictment had procedural omissions and returned it to the Court of Cassation on March 31. 

The prosecutor's move marks the revival of a long history of Turkey banning political parties, including pro-Kurdish ones.

The HDP is under intensified pressure from nationalist allies of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The move has 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.