Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) on Thursday approved the inclusion of additional evidence to the case file to shut down the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) over alleged ties to terrorism, Mezopotamya Agency reported.
The lifting of HDP deputy Semra Güzel’s parliamentary immunity in March was added to the case files as evidence that the party was ‘becoming a focus of terrorist activity’, which is grounds for closing a political party and banning its executives from running for office according to Turkish law.
Güzel’s immunity was lifted in connection to photos she took in 2014 with a member of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), who she was engaged to before he joined the group and before she was elected to parliament. The pair met during the period of peace talks between 2013 and 2015, when the state and the PKK maintained a ceasefire.
HDP and Güzel will be notified of the addition, and will have 30 days to submit statements in response, the court said. Party officials told Mezopotamya that the notification had not yet arrived.
The procedure will continue with a statement from the Court of Cassation’s chief public prosecutor, and the HDP’s defence at a later date to be determined by the AYM.
If 10 of the AYM’s 15 members vote in favour of the closure, HDP will be shut down and 451 of its top officials, including co-chairs, MPs, mayors and branch executives, will be banned from engaging in politics.
Turkey’s left-wing opposition groups launched a solidarity campaign in June last year, when the lawsuit first started. In April this year, 46 NGOs issued a joint statement condemning the attempt to shut down the HDP, which is currently the second-largest opposition bloc in Turkey’s parliament.