Turkish prosecutor asks court to ban pro-Kurdish HDP

HDP gathering

A Turkish prosecutor on Wednesday asked the Constitutional Court to shut down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), parliament’s third-largest group, AFP reported.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has long portrayed the HDP as the political front of outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed secessionist group listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

The party denies links to the militants and says it is coming under attack because of its fervent opposition to Erdogan’s 18-year rule.

Wednesday’s request came from Bekir Şahin, chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, who argued that the HDP is trying “to destroy the indivisibility between the state and the people,” the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The political and legal assault on the HDP intensified after a truce between the Kurdish militants and Erdogan’s government broke down in 2015.

It grew even stronger after Erdogan survived a failed coup attempt in 2016 that was followed by a sweeping political crackdown that saw tens of thousands jailed or stripped of their government jobs.

Those detained include two former HDP co-chairs who were jailed in 2016 and face decades in prison.

Most of the 65 HDP mayors elected in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast in 2019 have been replaced by government-appointed trustees.

The HDP’s future was thrown into question when Devlet Bahçeli, Erdogan’s ultra-nationalist ally, began calling on Turkey’s top courts to take action late last year.

The Supreme Court of Appeals opened an investigation into the party on March 2, two weeks after Erdoğan accused Kurdish militants of killing a group of Turkish captives in Iraq during a failed government rescue operation.

Last month parliament also began examining whether to lift the immunity of 25 lawmakers, including 20 from the HDP.

Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, a leading HDP member and human rights defender, was expelled from parliament on Wednesday after being controversially convicted of disseminating “terrorist propaganda” in a social media post.

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