Turkey: Erdoğan attempts to ban pro-Kurdish party ahead of snap poll

March 17, 2023
The People's Democratic Party logo (left) and Green Left Party logo.

Turkey will go to election on May 14, after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called a snap poll, and the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) will likely be forced use a different party name, due to a politically-motivated trial against it.

The HDP’s executive board is expected to decide to run under the name Green Left Party, according to Medya News. This decision follows rumours that the party was debating fielding its candidates under a different party name to avoid the risk of being closed down by the Constitutional Court ahead of the election and following confirmation by the Supreme Election Board that the Green Left Party was among the political parties eligible to run in the election.

The snap poll takes place in the context of the catastrophic earthquakes — and now floods — that have devastated the country and killed more than 47,000 people. The Erdoğan regime has been widely condemned for its disaster response, in particular, failing to provide adequate emergency rescue and relief to the majority Kurdish regions impacted.

The decision to run under the Green Left Party was forced on the HDP, after the Turkish Constitutional Court postponed the defence’s closing arguments in the HDP ban case until April 11, despite an application from its legal team for a three-month postponement.

The Constitutional Court’s rapporteur will prepare a report on the party’s legal status after April 11,“and the procedure initiated by the Constitutional Court to close down the HDP will continue” the HDP said. This may mean the HDP could be locked out of the election process entirely.

HDP Europe released a statement on March 11, saying: “The HDP finds itself in a politically motivated legal labyrinth in Turkey in connection with the elections.”

A March 9 decision by the Court to lift a block on the party’s electoral funding has only added to the HDP’s indignance, in light of these bureaucratic manoeuvres, “[b]ecause it is the right of the HDP like any other party, as well as its participation in politics and elections”, said the party.

The HDP has long suspected cooperation between the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its coalition partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to prevent the HDP from participating in the elections.

HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said: “This government cannot win elections through promises to the people. It has begun creating construction plans, the most important part of which is to eliminate the HDP. I had hoped that the Prosecutor General would not initiate this procedure despite everything.

“It is no coincidence that on March 17, one day before the MHP’s congress, a request was made to stop the proceedings. There were talks between the MHP leader Bahçeli and the AKP leader Erdoğan on this issue.”

In addition to banning the HDP, a 5-year ban from politics is being sought for 451 HDP members, including the co-chairs, elected members of parliament and party council members.

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.