Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made an unexpected and surprising intervention following the rising tension and critical reactions from the international arena regarding the new indictment seeking close the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and stripping HDP MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of his status as a member of the Turkish parliament.
Despite an ongoing legal process that is ongoing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has chosen to intervene in the HDP closure affair pointing to political, rather than legal concerns for the AKP/MHP Coalition Government. Seeking to defend the ongoing attempts to strip the HDP MP of his parliamentary status for a tweet of years ago that has been condemned by international human rights organisations and governments, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, “Gergerlioğlu’ was stripped of his membership of the parliament after a finalised court sentence against him was read in the Assembly in accordance with the Constitution and the Turkish Grand Assembly Rules of Procedure. The process is based on the rules of law, as seen in other parliaments.”
— T.C. Dışişleri Bakanlığı (@TC_Disisleri) March 18, 2021
Defining the prosecutor’s application at the Constitutinal court to shut down the HDP, which is the third-largest opposition party of the country “within the framework of law”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs again sought to defend the decision despite an ongoing case that has still not been concluded, “Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals submitted a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court for the closure of the HDP within the framework of the Constitution and the Law on Political Parties on the grounds that they have acted in a way that the rules of democratic and universal law would not accept, they acted together with the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and its affiliated organisations and carry out activities as an extension of the organisation.”
Critical voices blamed of being ‘inconsistent’ and interfering with the ‘internal affairs’ of Turkey
The Ministry, then contradicting its own announcements on the issue said, “In this process, everyone has to wait for the decision of the Constitutional Court. Commenting on the ongoing legal process is an intervention to the law.” They said, despite having just made their own judgements and comments. They continued, “Political parties are indispensable elements of democratic political life. However, it is essential that they carry out their activities peacefully within the framework of universal and democratic rules of law. We invite those inconsistent circles who attempt to interfere with the internal affairs to respect the judicial processes carried out by independent courts.”
International outrage however continues to pour in against the Turkish governments decision to close the third largest opposition party in Turkey that won over 50 seats in the Turkish Assembly at the last elections with a vote count of over 6 million voters.
The US Government commented on the Turkish Government’s moves against the HDP as follows:
“The United States is closely following events in Turkey, including troubling moves on March 17 to strip Member of Parliament Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu of his parliamentary seat.
We are also monitoring the initiation of efforts to dissolve the People’s Democratic Party, a decision that would unduly subvert the will of Turkish voters, further undermine democracy in Turkey, and deny millions of Turkish citizens their chosen representation.
We call on the Government of Turkey to respect freedom of expression in line with protections in the Turkish constitution and with Turkey’s international obligations.”