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Top court should be shut down over return of indictment seeking to ban HDP: Bahçeli

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Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s far-right ally, slammed a Wednesday decision by Turkey’s Constitutional Court’s (AYM) to return an indictment seeking closure of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), saying that the shutting down of the AYM should be an imperative.

The top public prosecutor in Ankara on March 17 put an indictment before the AYM aimed at dissolving the leftist opposition HDP and banning 687 of its members from engaging in politics for five years.

AYM judges on Wednesday decided unanimously to send the case back to the country’s top public prosecutor to fix “procedural shortcomings” in the file, according to Turkish media.

“The AYM’s decision to return the indictment is null in the people’s mind,” the MHP chairman said in a written statement, adding, “The HDP is a crime syndicate, a pawn of terrorism, a trademark for organized separatism. No procedural norms can change this fact.”

Saying that MHP expects to see the top public prosecutor to fix the indictment and seek the HDP’s closure once again, the ultranationalist leader branded the decision as “foul play” that should not be repeated.

“The MHP will closely follow the developments and will fight the separatists, terrorists and traitors who want to hide behind the cover of the law,” Bahçeli said.

Using genocidal language, Bahçeli defined the HDP in December 2020 as “poisonous vermin” and repeatedly called for its closure until a legal move to ban the pro-Kurdish party materialized two weeks ago.

Ankara’s attempt to dissolve the HDP has drawn condemnation from Western allies and protests from human rights groups.

Erdoğan has long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The party denies links to the PKK and says it is working to achieve a peaceful solution to Turkey’s Kurdish problem and is only coming under attack because of its strong opposition to Erdoğan’s 18-year rule.

Hundreds of HDP politicians, including the party’s former co-chairs, are behind bars on terrorism charges, while most of the 65 HDP mayors elected in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast in 2019 have been replaced by government-appointed trustees.

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