Both the United States and the European Union have reacted to the revoking of the lawmaker status of a Democratic Peoples’ Party (HDP) deputy and attempts to shut down the party.
“We are monitoring the initiation of efforts to dissolve the Peoples’ 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,” read a statement by the U.S. State Department on March 17.
“The United States is closely following events in Turkey, including troubling moves on March 17 to strip Member of Parliament Ömer Faruk Gergerlioglu of his parliamentary seat,” it said.
The European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor and the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Sergey Lagodinsky issued a statement against Gergeroğlu’s expulsion from parliament.
“His case is another crude example of the dire situation of freedom of speech in the country, the abuse of anti-terror measures to silence any critical voice and the particular crackdown on the opposition, especially the HDP, in an attempt to limit pluralism and political debate,” they said.
Ankara slams West for “intervention”
The Turkish Foreign Ministry issued a statement on the foreign reactions to the moves against the HDP, saying that such remarks are “intervention to judiciary” as the legal processes are ongoing.
Hours after the removal of Gergerlioğlu from the parliament on March 17, the Chief Prosecutor of the Court of Cassasiton filed a lawsuit for the closure of the Kurdish-problem-focused HDP. In the indictment he sent to the Constitutional Court, the Chief Prosecutor Bekir Şahin claimed that the HDP “aims to destroy and eliminate the indivisible unity of the state with its nation”.
Gergerlioğlu, meanwhile, is carrying out a sit-in in parliament with his party lawmakers. HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar named a copy of the indictment in media reports “nonsence,” adding that no accusations havebeer presented to them.
Main opposition: Party closure era should end
Main opposition People’s Democratic Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said that political parties should not be shut down.
“The political parties that receive the support of the people survive, parties that do not get the support of the people are thrown into the wastebasket of history. Therefore, if we are defending democracy, we have to leave a process such as the closure of political parties and the termination of political parties,” he said while speaking at the opening of the Tekirdağ Provincial Presidency of his party.
Reactions from DEVA, Future Party
Former Deputy Prime Minister and Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan said that the stripping of MPs of their status is “against the requirements of democratic social order.”
“Parliament is the roof where different opinions are expressed and negotiated under the framework of lawmakers’ immunities,” Babacan tweeted.
“Those who put 2053 objective, those who speak of a new Constitution want to pull Turkey into the vortex of 1990s,” Former Prime Minister and Future Party leader Ahmet Davutoğlu said in a tweet.
MHP: Close the HDP totally
The moves against the HDP came one day before the general assembly of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the election partner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The leader of the MHP, who had made a call for the closure of the HDP, was re-elected as the party chair for a 10th time.
At his speech in the congress, Bahçeli said the HDP should be closed in a manner that it is never reopened.