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Turkey’s top court refuses to hear expelled MP’s appeal

Pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party's (HDP) Turkish MP Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu, who was expelled from the parliament earlier this month, holds a press conference on March 31, 2021 at the party's headquarters in the Turkish capital, Ankara. Adem ALTAN / AFP

Turkey’s top court on Wednesday refused to hear an appeal by a leading pro-Kurdish lawmaker against his expulsion from parliament due to a conviction linked to a social media post, Agence France-Presse reported.

The Turkish Parliament this month stripped Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) of his seat after he was convicted of “spreading terrorist propaganda” on social media.

The offending post, which could see him jailed for two and a half years, featured an article in which outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants who have been waging a deadly decades-long war called on the government to take a step toward peace.

Gergerlioğlu has irritated President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government by shining a light on human rights violations that go ignored by the mainstream Turkish media, including strip-searches of women in detention.

The Constitutional Court on Wednesday said consideration of Gergerlioğlu’s appeal was not within its jurisdiction, the official Anadolu news agency reported.

Gergerlioğlu tweeted that he now intends to file an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Turkey’s top court is also due to decide Wednesday whether to accept an indictment to ban the HDP over its alleged links to the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US.

The Turkish government says the HDP — the third largest party in parliament — is the political front for the PKK, which the party denies.

A top prosecutor this month put an indictment before the Constitutional Court with an ultimate goal to dissolve the HDP and ban 687 party members from engaging in politics for five years.

The attempt to ban the party hit a legal snag on Tuesday when a special court rapporteur concluded that the prosecutor’s case had “deficiencies” relating to the identities and roles of some of the defendants.

The court now has the option to either send back the indictment for further work or to accept it and allow the prosecutor to amend his file during the trial, Turkey’s NTV said.

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