46 law, human rights and women’s organisations across the world released a joint statement against the threat of dissolution of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in Turkey.
The case is pending at Turkey’s Constitutional Court, and is likely to be concluded in a period of six months, just before the general elections in June 2023.
The joint statement said:
“We urge the government to respect the independence and impartiality of the judiciary by refraining from directly or indirectly influencing the court’s decision.”
“The undersigned organisations, active in the fields of democracy and defence and promotion of human rights, are deeply concerned about the ongoing case at the Constitutional Court in Turkey regarding dissolution of the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“HDP was founded 15 October, 2012, and has since been a vital part of political life in Turkey.
Our organisations urge the authorities to uphold the right to political representation in Turkey, and to ensure that any proceedings against political parties and their representatives fully comply with international standards for a fair trial, including the right to an independent and impartial tribunal established by law and defence rights.”
‘No concrete or reliable evidence in indictment’
The statement continued with a criticism of the indictment in the case:
“The indictment called for the dissolution of HDP and banning of 451 party members, including HDP Co-Chairs Mithat Sancar and Pervin Buldan, from politics for 5 years.
“The words and actions of 69 party members are stated to be the main grounds for the dissolution of the political party.
No concrete or reliable evidence attributable to the HDP was presented in the indictment, and no justification was given for the request for the party’s dissolution, which would violate the right to political representation of over 10% of the voters in the last elections.
“The proceeding takes place against the backdrop of severe democratic and rule of law backsliding in Turkey.
“Despite constitutional amendments introduced as part of the European Union accession process in the 2000s that made party closures – common in the 1990s – more difficult, the Constitutional Court shut down the Democratic Society Party (DTP), a predecessor of HDP, in 2009.
“Turkey has been repeatedly condemned in recent years by the European Court of Human Rights for violating the convention.
“Repeated statements by ruling party AKP and its ally MHP’s spokespersons, calling for HDP’s dissolution and for its members to be banned from politics also point to an attempt by the government to undermine the ECtHR’s authority and interfere in proceedings before national courts, including the Constitutional Court, in breach of the principle of judicial independence from other State powers.
“We call on the Constitutional Court to ensure that judicial proceedings take place in full compliance with domestic and international fair trial standards, including the principle of judicial independence and impartiality and the rights of the defence.”
The statement was signed by the following 46 organisations:
Asociación Americana de Juristas (AAJ)
Associació Catalana per a la Defensa dels Drets Humans (ACDDH) – Catalonia
Asociación Libre de Abogadas y Abogados, (ALA), Madrid
Association for Monitoring Equal Rights
Association of Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD)
Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union (BFAWU)
Campaign Against Criminalising Communities (CAMPACC)
Center of research and elaboration on democracy/Group for international legal intervention (CRED/GIGI)
Civic Space Studies Association
Confederation of Lawyers of Asia and the Pacific (COLAP)
Coordinamento Italiano Sostegno Donne Afghane (CISDA)
Democratic Lawyers Association of Bangladesh (DLAB)
Demokratische Juristinnen und Juristen Schweiz (DJS)
Eskubideak, Basque Country
European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH)
European Democratic Lawyers (AED)
General Federation of Trade Unions (UK)
Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers
Human Rights Agenda Association
Human Rights Association
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
Italian Democratic Lawyers / Giuristi Democratici
International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
KulturForum TürkeiDeutschland e.V.
Legal Team, Italy
Life-Memory-Freedom Association (Yaşam Bellek Özgürlük)
MAF-DAD e.V (Association for Democracy and International Law )
National Lawyers Guild International (USA)
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, Philippines (NUPL)
People’s Law Office / International
Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD)
Republikanischer Anwältinnen – und Anwälteverein e.V. (RAV), Germany
Rete Jin Italia (Jin Net)
Rights Initiative Association
Rosa Women’s Association
Social Policy, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Studies Association (SPoD)
Syndicat des Avocats de France (SAF)
Syndicat des Avocats pour la Démocratie, Belgium (le SAD)
The Indian Association of lawyers
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers, (NADEL), South Africa
Transport Salaried Staffs Association
Ukrainian Association of Democratic Lawyers
Vereinigung Demokratischer Juristinnen und Juristen (VDJ)
Vereniging Sociale Rechtshulp Nederland