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Turkey’s far-right leader again attacks top court for not closing down pro-Kurdish party

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Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s far-right ally, has once again targeted the Constitutional Court for not closing down a pro-Kurdish party, accusing the court of standing behind “terrorists.”

A case to close down the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on terrorism charges is pending at the Constitutional Court.

The party did not run in the May general election in order to avoid the risk of its possible closure before the election, instead fielding its candidates under the banner of the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party (YSP).

The YSP renamed itself the Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) during a party congress in Ankara on Sunday.

Bahçeli, who spoke at his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, said the top court should not only close down the HDP but also its successors.

He said allowing the HDP to run in the elections on the YSP ticket was a “mockery” of the Turkish justice system.

“Justice delayed is justice denied. Don’t you know this? The Constitutional Court’s establishing bridges with Kandil [a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)] and its acquittal of the terrorists will tarnish the dignity of the judiciary and be a blow to democracy,” said Bahçeli, as he appealed to the members of the top court.

Bahçeli, along with election ally Erdoğan accuse the HDP of links to the PKK, which has been waging a bloody campaign in Turkey’s southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The YSP secured 8.8 percent of the vote in the 2023 parliamentary elections, while the HDP won 11.7 percent in 2018.

Bahçeli frequently targets the Constitutional Court for not taking swift action to close down the HDP. He said before the May presidential election that the head of the Constitutional Court would be the best nominee from the HDP for its presidential candidate in the election.

The closure case against the HDP was launched in March 2021.

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.

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