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Rapporteur asks top court to deny HDP request for delayed conclusion of its closure case

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A rapporteur from Turkey’s Constitutional Court has asked the court to reject a recent request from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is the subject of a closure case, to conclude its case after the May elections, the HaberTürk news website reported.

Last week, the HDP submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court requesting that the court conclude its case after the parliamentary and presidential elections, now scheduled for May 14.

Turkey’s top prosecutor filed a case against the HDP, the second largest opposition party in the Turkish Parliament, in March 2021, accusing it of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984 and is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey and much of the international community.

The party’s Law and Human Rights Commission asked in its petition to the court to delay all proceedings regarding the party’s closure until after the election date, which was scheduled for June 18 but changed recently by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to May 14.

A report delivered to members of the top court by the court’s rapporteur said the HDP closure case file is sizable and dominates the court’s agenda and that therefore the court should not delay its decision.

The rapporteur’s report is not binding on the court’s members, but they will take it into consideration while making a decision about the HDP’s request during a session on Thursday.

The Constitutional Court has the option of dissolving the party or banning some of its members from politics if it rules against the HDP.

The party will have a month to prepare its defense before the court convenes for consideration of the case.

The 15-member panel needs a two-thirds majority to approve a political ban.

The HDP said it expected the case to conclude “in the coming months, before the elections.”

The chief prosecutor said the verdict’s timing was “at the Constitutional Court’s discretion.”

The HDP, which has 56 seats in the 579-member parliament, denies any links to the PKK.

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