The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) will not present an oral defence in the ongoing closure case against the pro-Kurdish party, the party’s legal commission announced on Thursday.
The HDP said that the Constitutional Court’s (AYM) rejection to postpone the case until after the elections, despite applications to the contrary, amounted to interference in free and fair elections.
The party filed an informative petition to the AYM, stating that the party will not present its oral defence on the set date, 11 April, due to efforts required for the electoral marathon. In the petition, the party states that the closure case in question would have a significant impact on the history of democracy and law in Turkey.
The court had refused to postpone the case without giving any reason, and set the date for the oral defence to two days after the deadline political parties were required to submit candidate lists to the Supreme Board of Elections, which still leaves enough time for the case to run its course and the court to rule to shut the HDP down before the elections.
If the party is shut down, almost 500 of its top cadres will be banned from running for office.
In the meantime, HDP announced that its candidates would run for parliament under Green Left Party lists so as not to to risk being excluded from May elections.
The case in question was originally initiated in June 2021 by the Court of Cassation’s Chief Public Prosecutor.
The HDP, Turkey’s third largest party in the parliament, faces the risk of being removed from the political scene as the general elections approach but the closure case is nothing new. Turkey has a long history of banning pro-Kurdish parties.