Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Co-Chair Serhat Eren, said the Turkish Constitutional Court’s (AYM) ruling to block the pro-Kurdish party’s Treasury support accounts was a “judicial coup against democratic politics”, reported Mezopotamya Agency.
As the co-chair for Law and Human Rights, Eren said on Friday that the AYM’s decision was unconstitutional due to the following reasons:
- Turkish law does not allow the Court of Cassation Chief Prosecutor to appeal to the AYM, demanding a party’s accounts be “immediately” blocked as part of an ongoing case to shut down the party. The request of the Chief Prosecutor may be the subject of the final decision, but the AYM cannot rule on a precautionary measure. Similarly, the prosecutor’s appeal goes against European law.
- According to the Code of Criminal Procedures, if the chief prosecutor presents an opinion on the case and makes an appeal, the defendant must be officially served notice of it and be allowed to submit any objections it may have. The AYM didn’t hear the HDP’s defence before issuing the temporary block, instead giving the party 30 days to prepare a defence after the fact.
- According to the Constitution, a two-thirds majority is necessary for any final decisions in a party closure case. However, AYM members voted eight against seven regarding Thursday’s ruling.
- The prosecutor had previously submitted the same request, but the court rejected it. Nothing has changed in legal terms since then, except for the country entering election mode.
Eren said the court’s decision was a pre-election attempt to prevent the HDP from engaging in political activities on equal terms with other political parties. The co-chair said the closure case itself was a product of “political lynching” campaigns by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its far-right ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
“Things have reached such a level that during the trial process, there was even a demand to shut down the AYM altogether, on the grounds that it had not shut down our party yet,” he said.
In April 2021, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli called for the closure of the AYM, when the court rejected a previous indictment prepared by the Court of Cassation’s chief public prosecutor for procedural errors. In a written statement regarding the court’s decision, Bahçeli said, “Just like the closure of the HDP, the AYM’s closure should also be a nondeferrable goal.”
A second indictment was accepted in June 2021. The new indictment called for a ban from holding public office for 451 of the HDP’s top officials, including mayors and MPs, over alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organisaiton.
After AYM’s ruling on Thursday, HDP will not be able to access the 4.5 billion lira ($240 million) Treasury support it was allocated for 2023.