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Pro-Kurdish party launches donation campaign after suspension of state funds

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Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has launched a donation drive to finance its campaign for the presidential and parliamentary elections in May after its funds were suspended by the top court earlier this month, the Gazete Duvar news website reported.

The decision by the Constitutional Court on Jan. 5 deprives the HDP — parliament’s second-largest opposition group — of a key source of income heading into elections.

Party spokesperson Ebru Günay made the announcement about the donation campaign, “Our Treasure Is Our People,” at party headquarters in Ankara on Thursday. She said the party decided to launch the campaign after many people expressed their willingness to support the party financially in the wake of the top court’s decision.

With the campaign, the party aims to reach out to at least 6 million of its voters across the country, according to Günay.

Turkish media reports said the party was due to receive 539 million lira ($29 million) in treasury funding this year.

HDP holds 56 of parliament’s 579 seats and usually votes together with other opposition parties.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government has been trying to dissolve the HDP since March 2021 over its alleged ties to outlawed Kurdish militants.

The party says it is being singled out for standing up for Kurdish rights and resisting the government’s expanding clampdown on political freedoms and dissent.

The case has reached the Constitutional Court in time to have major repercussions on Erdoğan’s chances of re-election in May and parliament’s future makeup.

In yet another blow to the HDP, the top court on Thursday rejected the HDP’s request to defer until after May elections a ruling on its closure case.

The decision raises the chances of Turkey’s third-largest party being barred from taking part in the May 14 parliamentary and presidential elections.

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