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Turkey’s top court to rule on new indictment to ban pro-Kurdish party in 15 days

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court will announce its ruling on a new indictment seeking closure of a pro-Kurdish party –- the second largest opposition party in the Turkish Parliament -– local media reported on Thursday, citing statements by the prosecutor who submitted the indictment to the top court.

Bekir Şahin, chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, on Monday refiled an indictment that seeks to shut down the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), after the top court returned its first version to Şahin in mid-April, citing procedural flaws such as deficiencies related to the identity of some suspects, their roles in the party and details of criminal charges against them.

Şahin on Thursday spoke at a public event in southern Antalya province, saying the new indictment against the HDP, comprising 843 pages, seeks the imposition of a political ban on 451 party members as well as freezing the party’s bank accounts.

“We have presented all the files, CD’s and HDP officials’ speeches as evidence [in the indictment].They [the top court] will evaluate it and decide on it in 15 days,” Şahin said, declining to give the names of the HDP officials mentioned in the indictment.

“Sixty-nine party members are included in the indictment for [publicly] speaking in favor of a terrorist organization,” Şahin said, in reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.

The first indictment had also accused the party of links to the PKK and of posing a threat to the “indivisible integrity of the state.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) have long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the 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.

The far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), an ally of the ruling AKP, strongly backs the closure of the HDP. Hundreds of politicians from the pro-Kurdish party including its former co-chairs have been behind bars on politically motivated charges for several years.

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

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