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Gendarmes disrupt opening of Green Left Party’s election office, detain 7

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Gendarmes disrupted in the opening ceremony of the Green Left Party’s (YSP) election office in Turkey’s southern Şanlıurfa province on Monday, detaining at least seven people, the Mezopotamya news agency reported.

The YSP is the party under whose banner the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) decided to run in the parliamentary elections slated for May 14 in a bid to circumvent the risks that could emerge from its possible closure ahead of the elections.

The HDP is facing a closure case on terrorism charges that was filed in March 2021 and could be concluded before the elections since the Constitutional Court, which is hearing the case, has rejected the HDP’s request to delay the verdict until after the elections.

A group of people, including HDP lawmakers Mehmet Rüştü Tiryaki and Dilan Dirayet Taşdemir, that had gathered in front of the YSP’s election office to celebrate its opening on Monday decided to dance while waiting for Democratic Regions Party (DBP) co-chair Saliha Aydeniz and some others to join them for the event.

The group started dancing the traditional halay although they were warned not to dance or play music due to a March 31 order by the governor banning events in the city for five days, according to Mezopotamya, which added that gendarmes then used pressurized water on the group and detained at least seven people.

Turkey’s top prosecutor filed a case against the HDP, the second-largest opposition party in the Turkish Parliament, in March 2021, accusing it of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The party, which denies any links to the PKK, describes the case as politically motivated.

In the past when pro-Kurdish parties faced similar threats, they either fielded independent candidates or ran under the banner of other parties.

Turkey’s political history is filled with pro-Kurdish parties that were shut down on terrorism charges. Every time a party was closed, another one was established in short order.

The HDP is widely seen as the kingmaker in the presidential election on May 14 that could end the two-decade rule of current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is seeking re-election.

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