A chief advisor of the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Monday that the Constitutional Court would approve the shut down of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) if it evaluated the decision according to established norms.
Mehmet Uçum’s comments on Habertürk came a day before the chief public prosecutor of Turkey’s Court of Appeals addressed Turkey’s top court in favour of closing down HDP, and imposing a political ban for nearly 500 members of the pro-Kurdish party.
The constitutional court last week approved a demand made by the same prosecutor to freeze the HDP’s Treasury support accounts. The party was set to receive 539 million TL for 2023, 179 million TL of which was to be received as of Tuesday.
Uçum said that he approved the court’s decision to block the accounts, adding that the decision would be re-evaluated a month later.
“If this measure was not taken, TL 540 million would have transferred to their vault. I say the Constitutional Court’s decision to take such a measure is compatible with the law,” said Uçum.
The advisor defined the HDP as a party operating under the tutelage of terrorism, and referred to the Spanish example of a Basque nationalist party outlawed in 2003 for not condemning a terrorist organisation.
“It is said that there is lots of evidence in the case file. It is said that documents have been requested from the chief prosecutor. From that point of view, the party’s closure is a likely outcome, given the constitutional law and the law on political parties,” Uçum said.
Uçum also hinted to a possible deadline for the court to decide its verdict, mentioning that the Constitutional Court will vote for its new chair on January 25.
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 article 69 of the Turkish Constitution.
The advisor’s comments were immediately criticised by Meral Danış Beştaş, the HDP’s parliamentary group’s deputy head, who pointed out that before becoming Erdoğan’s advisor, Uçum was known as a human right activist.
“From his statements yesterday, I once again saw that that the AKP made him forget everything. It seems he has also forgotten that he is a lawyer,” Danış Beştaş said about Uçum.
“Even if Uçum has forgotten everything, he knows that due to the position he occupies, those comments amount to giving orders to the Constitutional Court, affecting the court, determining the verdict and putting pressure on the members,” the politician said.
The HDP has outlived all parties established since 1990 arising from the Kurdish political movement. From 1990 to 2009, seven pro-Kurdish parties were closed by the Constitutional Court, while two others abolished themselves.