Turkey’s top court rejects pro-Kurdish party closure indictment over shortcomings

The Turkish Constitutional Court on Tuesday rejected an indictment calling for the closure of the pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), citing procedural errors, Diken news website reported.

The top court’s rapporteur called for the indictment to be returned to the Court of Cassation over what the official deemed as shortcomings in the document, Diken said.

On March 17, Turkey’s top prosecutor of the Court of Cassation submitted to the Constitutional Court an indictment for the closure of the HDP, accusing the second largest opposition bloc in the country of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war for Kurdish self-rule in Turkey for almost 40 years. 

The indictment also calls for banning 687 HDP members, including the current members of parliament, from politics for a period of five years over terror links.

The non-binding report by the Constitutional Court official calls for deficiencies in the indictment to be addressed within a certain time frame, Diken said, including missing information on the identification of individuals listed in the indictment, as well as their job descriptions and dates of protests they are claimed to have participated in.

The name of the rapporteur and the full content of the official’s report is being withheld in a bid to protect the trial, Diken said.

After the procedural shortcomings are rectified and the court accepts the indictment, leading to an official launching of the case, the file will be sent to HDP, which will be asked to provide a defence. 

The indictment seeking HDP’s disbandment arrives as the government intensifies a crackdown on the party, including the stripping theparliamentarian status of HDP lawmaker and activist Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğluover asocial media post from 2016.

As of Feb. 27, there were a total of 955 summaries on 59 HDP deputies, petitioning the parliament to lift the deputies’ immunities in order for them to face trial, state-run TRT Haber reported.