Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called members of the Constitutional Court to scold them for the top court’s decision to lift a block on treasury funds the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) would receive, one of the judges told Halk TV on Thursday.
“How could you vote to lift the block? I trusted you,” the president reportedly asked the judges.
The HDP’s access to treasury funds as the third largest bloc in parliament was blocked on 5 January on a cautionary measure, in relation to the lawsuit against the pro-Kurdish party to shut it down. On 9 March, the court decided by 8 votes to 7 to lift the block.
“My decision was made based on the law. There are no legal provisions to justify the block. Not in the constitution, not in laws. I told the president that too,” the constitutional court judge who wished to remain anonymous told the opposition news network.
The initial block was based on the Court of Cassation “putting forth serious claims” that the HDP was transferring funds to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey designates a terrorist organisation. “In the face of these claims, we had no alternative but to issue an injunction,” the judge said. “I saw no other way but an injunction in the face of claims that treasury funds were directly transferred to the terrorist organisation. But in documents that emerged later, we saw that there is no actual transfer, not between 2017-18, not in years that followed.”
The government could have amended the laws to suspend treasury support to political parties during lawsuits against a political party, but they did not, the judge said. “They don’t pass the laws, then they talk about political handicaps of the situation.”
The HDP, having won some six million votes in the most recent elections, is the third largest party in parliament after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP). It is currently facing a possible shut-down over alleged ties to the PKK. If the constitutional court rules to shut the HDP down, 481 of its top cadres including co-chairs, MPs and mayors will be banned from holding office, risking representation for more than 11 percent of the electorate.