Turkish court to make first examination on HDP closure case

Turkish courts will today begin to examine the case demanding the closure of the country’s pro-Kurdish, leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party

Turkish Constitutional Court

Photo: Anadolu Agency

Turkish courts will today begin to examine the case demanding the closure of the country’s pro-Kurdish, leftist Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

The long-anticipated move to dissolve the HDP—which won nearly six million votes in 2018—comes after the party saw 50 of its mayors dismissed and more than 7,000 of its members detained in the past two years. The case relates to the HDP’s alleged ties with the outlawed Kurdish nationalist militia, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it denies.

This crackdown on Kurdish political activity has a long precedent in Turkish politics, rooted in the state’s founding pillar of Turkish nationalism. The most recent assault on the HDP represents the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s attempt to both appeal to its increasingly nationalist supporter base and to further isolate the HDP from Turkey’s growing secular-nationalist opposition block.

In the short-run, courts will likely rule on the HDP’s full or partial closure, emboldening the main opposition’s nationalistic elements. In the long-run, the party will regroup as it has done many times in the past, but its closure will further delay a political resolution to the decades-long bloody conflict in the Kurdish-majority southeast, while inevitably strengthening the Kurdish movement’s militaristic wing.

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