The chief public prosecutor of Turkey’s Court of Appeals asked the Constitutional Court to immediately strip the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of funds transferred from the Treasury, Habertürk reported on Monday.
The prosecutor, who is expected to address Turkey’s supreme court on January 10 for HDP’s closure case, in his indictment claimed that the pro-Kurdish party has become the centre of activities that aim to damage the integrity of the state.
However, the prosecutor also made a last minute application to the court, saying, “The organic relation between the HDP and the terrorist organisation have continued during the legal process, their account for Treasury aid should be immediately blocked.”
The Constitutional Court in June 2021 accepted an indictment that demands closing the HDP as well as a political ban for nearly 500 HDP members, including high-profile figures over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Following the chief prosecutors address to the Constitutional Court, the court will set a date for the oral defence of the HDP, Following that, the supreme court’s rapporteur will finalise his report on the accusations and the court’s president Zühtü Arslan will set the date for the judges to start examining the merits of the case.
A two-thirds majority, or votes of the 10 of 15 members of the court, are needed to close a political party according to the Turkish Constitution.
Assistance received from the Treasury is particularly important for political parties for financing election expenditures. The prosecutor’s attempt can be seen as a move to block the HDP from running an effective election campaign before 2023 polls.
The HDP, the third largest party in the parliament, received TL 77.1 million as assistance from the Treasury in 2022. According to the 2023 budget, the party is to receive TL359.7 million of funds from the Treasury.
Political parties in Turkey can raise their own funds through donations and revenue raised from party’ real estates and activities. However, since 1965, funds have also been transferred from the Treasury to finance political parties.
The parties who have passed the election threshold in the latest polls get the lion’s share from those funds according to their number of seats in the parliament. Political parties that have not passed the threshold but get more than 3 percent of the votes also receive funds from the Treasury.