Erdoğan ally Bahçeli calls for closure of country’s top court

The leader of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, on Wednesday repeated a call for the closure of the Constitutional Court, saying the move should not be delayed.

The remarks by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s junior coalition partner arrive as the country’s top court sent an indictment calling for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to be banned back to the top prosecutor of the Court of Cassation, citing procedural grounds.

"Is the Constitutional Court on the side of the supremacy of the law, or (is it) a cheerleader for separatism?’’ Sözcü newspaper cited Bahçeli as saying.

"The Constitutional Court is callous, indifferent and distant to Turkey’s struggle against terror and separatism,’’ he added.  

The lawsuit filed against the HDP earlier this month demands a ban on the pro-Kurdish party over alleged ties to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as a five-year political ban on more than 600 party members. 

The Turkish government accuses the HDP, parliament’s third-largest party, of sympathising and acting in the interest of the PKK, and has maintained a years-long crackdown on the party, with thousands of members tried on terrorism charges. The HDP denies links to terrorism.

"The closure of the Constitutional Court, like the closure of the HDP, should become an unpostponable goal,’’ the MHP leader said.

Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) responded to Bahçeli’s remarks, saying the MHP leader should refrain from commenting on matters pertaining to judicial matters.

"It is evident that such approaches are of no benefit to the law, the state and our glorious nation.’’  Gerçek Gündem news site cited AKP election affairs deputy chairman Samir Altunkaynak as saying.

Stressing that safeguarding the law was the fundamental assurance of Turkey's unity, Altunkaynak said the court’s rulings, particularly over the last few years, had "honoured’’ the law.