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Fears of HDP shutdown rise after new terrorism charges against party leader

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Fears are growing that the Turkish opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP) may be shut down after new terrorist charges are brought against former members of its executive committee today.

Cases have been filed against the co-chairman of the Pervin Buldan party, the vice-chairmen of the parliamentary groups Meral Danis Bestas and Saruhan Oluc and the deputies Garo Paylan, Huda Kaya, Sezai Temelli, Pero Dundar, Fatma Kurtulan and Serpil Kemalbay at the prosecutor’s office General of Ankara.

They are accused of being the instigators of the so-called Kobane case, which has seen 108 people charged with offenses after the HDP supported indefinite protests against the government for blocking aid to the northern border town of Syria as it was besieged by Isis in 2014..

Thirty-seven people were killed as the Turkish government deployed soldiers, police and paramilitary forces to quell the October uprising. In a bizarre twist, those who killed the protesters are not prosecuted: former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas has been blamed for the deaths.

He has been behind bars since November 2016, alongside former HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in December that his continued detention was politically motivated and ruled that he should be released immediately.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan brushed off the courts’ ruling on time and, emboldened by the lack of action to enforce the ruling, on Tuesday announced his intention to get Turkey back on track for membership of the Turkey to the European Union.

On Monday, Mr. Erdogans’ far-right ally Devlet Bahceli demanded the shutdown of the HDP, warning that if the government fails his Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will do what is necessary.

The HDP should pay the price for the incidents of October 6 and 8, trench terrorism and host separatism before the law, nation and history, he said.

The ultranationalist party, which is linked to the fascist gray wolves, backs Mr Erdogans’ cabinet in a trust and supply agreement, having formed the coalition of the People’s Alliance with the presidents of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the 2018 general election.

Fears that the HDP could be shut down were raised when the Turkish parliament passed the law to prevent the financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in December.

This legislation ostensibly stops the financing of terrorism but in reality contains a series of articles intended to paralyze the opposition.

It allows the government to take control and even shut down non-governmental organizations, charities and political organizations associated with terrorism.The HDP, well supported in Kurdish areas, is particularly vulnerable as prominent figures face fake terrorism charges or have been jailed. charges.

A report on the latest charges will be prepared by the prosecution and sent to the Ministry of Justice. It will then be voted on in parliament where it should be adopted.

The HDP has come under intense pressure since its founding. A year-end report in December revealed that around 20,000 members and supporters have been detained since 2016. Among them, the HDP reported that 10,000 had been imprisoned, including some 200 elected officials and seven parliamentarians.

Following the 2019 local elections, the government opposed the HDP, removing its elected mayors from more than 50 municipalities, replacing them with government administrators.

It has been described as the biggest attack on a legal political party since World War II.

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