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Turkey rejects condemnation over pro-Kurdish HDP closure case

Foreign ministry said commenting on an ongoing judicial process amounts to 'intervention' in the country's domestic affairs
Over the past two years, the Turkish government has launched a crackdown on the HDP party.
Over the past two years, the Turkish government has launched a crackdown on the HDP party (AFP)

Turkey on Thursday told foreign countries to stay out of its domestic affairs after the US and European Union criticised a prosecutor's case to shut down a pro-Kurdish opposition party.

Turkey's chief prosecutor filed a lawsuit on Wednesday seeking to disband the People's Democracy Party (HDP), accusing it of having links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"Everyone must wait for the ruling the Constitutional Court will make in this process. Commenting on an ongoing judicial process amounts to intervention in the judiciary," Turkey's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"We call upon those who act inconsistently and attempt to interfere with our internal affairs to respect the legal processes conducted by the independent judiciary."

Turkey: Chief prosecutor files lawsuit to close pro-Kurdish HDP party
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The foreign ministry's statement was an apparent response to the United States and the European Union, who had criticised the move.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a statement that Washington was monitoring the "efforts to dissolve the People’s Democratic Party, a decision that would unduly subvert the will of Turkish voters, further undermine democracy in Turkey, and deny millions of Turkish citizens their chosen representation".

"Unapologetically [moving] towards the end of pluralism. What reaction does Turkey expect now from the European Union? A positive agenda?" said Nacho Sanchez Amor, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Turkey.

Ankara has been a candidate for EU membership, though accession talks have been stalled for years.

Wednesday's case to close down the party came on the same day that Turkey's parliament stripped a prominent HDP deputy of his parliamentary status.

The Turkish foreign ministry said the move was "a matter of implementation of due process of law as seen in other Parliaments".

EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel are to hold video talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.

Crackdown on HDP

Supreme Court Prosecutor Bekir Sahin, who filed the case, alleged that the HDP "through the actions and statements of its members" had attempted "to destroy the inseparable unity of the Turkish state and the nation".

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long portrayed the HDP as the political front of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Devlet Bahceli, leader of the far-right Nationalist Movement Party that is allied with Erdogan, hailed the move: "The HDP is a criminal organisation disguised in a political cloak. It is a historic and moral duty for it to be shut and never to be reopened under another name."

The PKK is designated a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. More than 40,000 people are estimated to have been killed in fighting between Turkish forces and the group since the 1980s.

The HDP, which has 55 seats in the 600-member parliament, has denied any links to the PKK.

The party condemned the indictment as a "severe blow to democracy" and called on its supporters to resist.

"We invite all forces of democracy, the social and political opposition, and our people to joint struggle against this political coup d’etat, against the overt liquidation of law and democracy," it said in a statement.