Turkey’s Constitutional Court to assess HDP case extension

Turkey’s Constitutional Court (AYM) is set to decide on September 2 whether to grant the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) the extension it demanded to better prepare its defence, Mezopotamya Agency reported on Thursday.

If the court does not grant the extension, HDP will have to present a defence on Sept. 7 in the case to shut down the second largest opposition party in the country.

On June 21, the AYM accepted an indictment demanding the closure of the HDP and bans from politics for some 450 of its senior members. The indictment was provided to the party in the form of 70 folders and eight flash drives, Mezopotamya said, and it was given 60 days to prepare a defence. HDP asked for an extension citing the volume of the case files.

The Court of Cassation prosecutor submitted the original indictment against the left-wing party on March 17, and the AYM rejected it citing formal shortcomings.

The original indictment, as does its successor, accused HDP of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for four decades. It also demanded a five-year ban from politics for 687 HDP members.

In its rejection the AYM said the indictment had had missing information on the suspect listed in it, as well as dates of protests and other events that it cited as evidence of PKK links.

HDP’s former co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş have been behind bars on similar charges since November 2016, and 108 top party officials are facing trial for terrorism and incitement to violence over street protests known as the 2014 Kobani incidents.

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