Human rights advocacy group Amnesty International on Tuesday warned Turkey’s constitutional court that a decision in favour of closing down People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will lead to a violation of rights and freedoms protected under international law.
Amnesty International’s latest release came as Turkey’s court adjourned on Tuesday to review the HDP closure case, the third largest party in the Turkish parliament.
The case initiated by the Court of Cassation’s chief prosecutor seeks to shut down the pro-Kurdish party and ban 500 HDP members from politics.
Amnesty International said that most of the evidence presented by the prosecution against HDP involved activities between 2013 and 2015, a period when the Turkish state was negotiating a peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The human rights group called on the court to follow the European Human Rights Convention and related international law. It went on to say that the the chief prosecutor should withdraw the case on the grounds that the European Court of Human Rights has previously ruled that, by shutting down political parties, Turkey had violated the right to assembly.
Earlier this month the HDP announced that it will not present an oral defence to Turkey’s top court by the 11 April deadline, citing election preparations ahead of the country’s 14 May polls.
In the absence of HDP’s defence, the court, which refused to postpone the closure case until after elections, is expected to ask the rapporteur to prepare a final report on the case.
When the report is complete, the court will set a date for its 15 members to evaluate the case and reach a verdict.
Given that the risk that the court could decide to shut down the HDP, the political party fielded its parliamentary candidates under the Green Left Party for the 14 May elections.