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We call on Turkish authorities to stop the crackdown on the opposition party, HDP, ahead of the elections


11 Jan 2023


Global Europe

The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament condemn the latest crackdown on the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), reacting to yesterday’s news that Turkey’s chief prosecutor submitted his final case to the Constitutional Court to shut down this opposition party. Already last week the court froze the HDP’s access to a bank account through which it received state funding.

HDP, one of the two S&D sister parties in Turkey, is the third-largest party in the Turkish parliament. It won 12% of the vote in a 2018 general election and holds 56 of parliament’s 579 seats. It has been increasingly targeted by the Turkish authorities for several years. As a result, thousands of party members, executives, MPs, local councillors and co-mayors have been tried on mainly terrorism-related charges and, most recently, there is a full offensive by prosecutors with multiple judicial cases. This adds to the continued detention since November 2016 of former HDP co-chairs Figen Yüksekdağ and Selahattin Demirtaş, opposition leader and former presidential candidate.

Nacho Sánchez Amor, S&D MEP and European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, said: 

“We call on Turkish authorities to stop the crackdown on the HDP. It is a democratically elected and peaceful party and must be allowed to function freely and without intimidation from the government. Its dissolution would be a huge blow to democracy and violating multiple basic freedoms and rights, such as freedom of association, freedom of expression and the right to vote.

“There is no doubt that for me this latest attempt to silence is the HDP is linked to Turkey’s incoming parliamentary and presidential elections. The plan is to close down the HDP, radically limiting the election options for millions of voters, and to politically ban the whole of HDP leadership in order to prevent any possible new party from being founded. It is not only unlawful, but also a huge political mistake. If the HDP is ordered to close, no international independent observer delegation will be able to come to Turkey and say that the elections were fair. This would also move Turkey further away from the EU and further down its current authoritarian trend.”