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At its ses­sion on June 21 2021, the Gen­er­al Assem­bly of Turkey’s Con­si­tu­tion­al Tri­bunal pro­ceed­ed to a first exam­i­na­tion of a sec­ond indict­ment call­ing for the clos­ing down of the Peo­ple’s Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (HDP). This indict­ment was unan­i­mous­ly accepted.

Thus does the “affair” take shape, fol­low­ing months of hound­ing, and efforts by the regime and its allies to demo­nize the HDP by every mean imaginable…

As a reminder, the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal hav­ing reject­ed a first indict­ment made at the request of the rap­por­teur, the Court of appeals had sent a sec­ond indict­ment against the HDP to the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal on June 7 2021. [The List of the 500 Mem­bers of the HDP threat­ened with sus­pen­sion of polit­i­cal rights.]

Fol­low­ing news of the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal’s deci­sion, Per­vin Bul­dan and Mithat San­car, HDP Co-Pres­i­dents, held a press conference.

They under­lined the fact the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal had missed a his­tor­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty to fun­da­men­tal­ly reject this indict­ment and that refus­ing to do so proved inju­ri­ous to Turkey. “The Tri­bunal had suf­fi­cient legal motives, and motives of con­science, in order to do so. Because this tri­al call­ing for the clos­ing down of the par­ty was start­ed fol­low­ing a polit­i­cal cam­paign car­ried out for months. As you know, those in pow­er, their lit­tle asso­ciate the MHP and all their oth­er allies tar­get­ed the HDP for months with dec­la­ra­tions and threats.”

This polit­i­cal cam­paign of threats and black­mail was already in the back­ground of the first indict­ment pre­pared by the pros­e­cu­tor. More­over, the var­i­ous units in pow­er, start­ing with the MHP are not con­tent with only threat­en­ing the HDP but also the gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor in per­son. Any­one, even with min­i­mal legal knowl­edge, real­izes that this indicte­ment, re-cooked in the back rooms, has no judi­cial val­ue whatsoever.”

A political operation against the HDP

Every­one can see direct­ly that this is a polit­i­cal oper­a­tion. All togeth­er we also saw how the first indicte­ment was emp­ty of all sub­stance, wor­thy of the trash can. In refus­ing this first indict­ment, the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal had done what was only fair. This lat­est deci­sion is unten­able in Law, when noth­ing has changed, the polit­i­cal cam­paign, the threats and black­mail oper­a­tions con­tin­ue and, what’s more, a mur­der­ous attack was com­mit­ted on our orga­ni­za­tion in Izmir…

A missed historical opportunity

The con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal should have refused the indict­ment and under­lined the exis­tence of these cam­paigns of threats, black­mail, hos­til­i­ties and the for­feit­ing of the law in its integri­ty. It should also have tak­en under advise­ment the attack on our offices in Izmir which was sim­ply the result of all these cam­paigns. At at time when the assas­si­na­tion of our com­rade Deniz Poyraz showed every­one the nature of these maneu­vers, the fact the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal turns a blind eye to it means it car­ries a his­tor­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty. By refus­ing to acknowl­edge an indict­ment backed by a polit­i­cal oper­a­tion, pro­ject­ed liq­ui­da­tions, clear­ly exist­ing plans for dirty and bloody chaos, the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal could have sent Turk­ish soci­ety an impor­tant mes­sage of hope for democ­ra­cy. But it did not do so. We are thus oblig­ed to state that the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal did not seize this his­tor­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty for democ­ra­cy, social peace and freedom.

Power in person is the prosecutor at this this trial

But we wish to main­tain our expec­ta­tions at a high lev­el for the rest of the process, dur­ing which the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal could adopt an atti­tude cor­rect­ing this seri­ous ini­tial fail­ing. With­out a doubt, the pros­e­cu­tor of the Repub­lic is not the pros­e­cu­tor in this trial…We have stat­ed this on a num­ber of occa­sions: this indict­ment was not pre­pared by the pros­e­cu­tor of the Repub­lic. It was pre­pared at the head­quar­ters of the MHP, it received its final pol­ish­ing in the legal units at the Palace, and was then relayed to the office of the pros­e­cu­tor of the Repub­lic. If the process is obvi­ous, every­one must see that the pros­e­cu­tor in this tri­al is none oth­er than pow­er, in person.

If power is the prosecutor, the people stand as defendor

This tri­al will also have defendors, lawyers will ful­fill the duty of defence. With our lawyers, we will pre­pare the most sol­id of defences, but every­one must clear­ly under­stand that, just as pow­er is the pros­e­cu­tor in this tri­al, the peo­ple stand as it’s attor­ney. We have also said that we will defend the HDP to the end and keep it alive. Our deter­mi­na­tion is ongo­ing, and grow­ing. The peo­ple are the  true attor­ney in this tri­al, and most­ly the Kur­dish people.

We will spoil this case

Attacked in every aspect, the Kur­dish peo­ple has shown its will at every turn, but the Kur­dish peo­ple is not the only defence in this tri­al. Because this tri­al tar­gets the Kur­dish peo­ple and its will first and fore­most, but at the same time, it attacks the com­mon strug­gles of the peo­ples crys­tal­lized under the roof of the HDP. The aim of this tri­al is both the anni­hi­la­tion of demo­c­ra­t­ic hope in Turkey, the smoth­er­ing of the desire for free­dom, the total bur­ial of dreams of peace. For this very rea­son, we say that the defendors in this tri­al will be the Kur­dish peo­ple first, but they will include the com­mon strug­gles of the peo­ples in Turkey, gath­er­ing at its side all the forces of democ­ra­cy to spoil this tri­al. We are going to spoil this case, we are deter­mined to do so.

The future of democracy

What­ev­er deci­sion will be tak­en in this tri­al will not only affect the HDP. Above all, it will be a ver­dict on the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal itself. If it choos­es the close down the HDP, the tri­bunal will be clos­ing itself down as well, con­demn­ing itself in the peo­ple’s con­science, in inter­na­tion­al pub­lic opin­ion that calls for democ­ra­cy. But that is not all. If the tri­bunal opts for the shut-down, it will show that it bends before black­mail, threats and plans for chaos. To put it oth­er­wise, in its deci­sion, the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal will deter­mine the future of democ­ra­cy and social peace in Turkey. The heav­i­est duty and respon­si­bil­i­ty thus rests on us, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Kur­dish peo­ple, of all the peo­ple involved in a com­mon strug­gle, on the forces of democ­ra­cy in Turkey, and on inter­na­tion­al demo­c­ra­t­ic pub­lic opinion.

Defending the HDP to the end

We are deter­mined to defend the HDP to the end. No one must doubt it, we will keep the HDP alive for it is an orga­ni­za­tion and a cra­dle for a strong notion that serves as a light for Turkey’s future. The HDP is a sol­id and root­ed struc­ture, com­mit­ted to demo­c­ra­t­ic liv­ing togeth­er, not only in Turkey but also in the Mid­dle-East. Those who think they can neu­tral­ize this through a court deci­sion, cast a shad­ow through a tri­al on the deter­mi­na­tion to trav­el this road, are in seri­ous error. Should they exist, those who intend to use this tri­al as a means of intim­i­da­tion and black­mail must under­stand they will find the oppo­site before them.

A promise to our comrade Deniz

The HDP will find this strength in the strength it draws from the peo­ple  in order to deter­mine the roads to polit­i­cal bal­ances and the future of Turkey. Should all those roads be closed, the HDP will open up oth­ers with the peo­ple. We have no doubt of this. We make this promise to all our com­rades who have paid the ulti­mate price, begin­ning with our com­rade Deniz Poyraz.  We shall make the HDP live, we will make it grow and we shall overcome.”

How is such a process carried out?

When the court of appeals pros­e­cutes a polit­i­cal par­ty and requests its clos­ing down, the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal applies the pro­ce­dure used in a “penal case”.  The method employed is deter­mined in the report on pre­lim­i­nary pro­ce­dures. Thus, the indict­ment will be sent to the HDP for its pre­lim­i­nary defence. The indict­ment will be noti­fied fol­low­ing the sign­ing of the report on the pre­lim­i­nary pro­ce­dure. Once this pro­ce­dures begins, the indict­ed par­ty must sub­mit its pre­lim­i­nary defence with­in the delays spec­i­fied by the supe­ri­or juris­dic­tion. But it may also ask for a pro­lon­ga­tion to this delay. The court decides to grant this request or not.

Fol­low­ing the HDP’s pre­sen­ta­tion of the pre­lim­i­nary defence, the pros­e­cu­tor of the court of appeals, Bekir Sahin, is invit­ed to express his opin­ion on the accu­sa­tions. This opin­ion will also be sent to the HDP. Then, on a sched­ule fixed by the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal, the pros­e­cu­tor and the HDP prin­ci­pals will make their respec­tive dec­la­ra­tions and ver­bal defences.

Fol­low­ing this, the rap­por­teur will gath­er infor­ma­tion and doc­u­ments, and pre­pare a report on the sub­stance of the case. While this process is ongo­ing, the office of the court of appeal­s’s gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor and the HDP have the right to sub­mit evi­dence or sup­ple­men­tary ele­ments for their defence. Fol­low­ing sub­mit­tal of the report to the mem­bers of the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal, the pres­i­dent of the tri­bunal, Zühtü Arslan, will set a date for the meet­ing and, that date being estab­lished, the mem­bers with begin to exam­ine the “sub­stance” of the case.

As for the deci­sion, a two-thirds major­i­ty is required for the clos­ing  or the impo­si­tion of oth­er sanc­tions on the Par­ty, which means 10 out of the 15 mem­bers of the con­sti­tu­tion­al tri­bunal  in accor­dance with arti­cle 69 of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Such sanc­tions could include a par­tial or total denial of pub­lic subsidies.

The Supreme Court’s deci­sion will be sub­mit­ted to the court of appeals that filed the case and to the HDP and will be pub­lished in the offi­cial bul­letin. Per­sons sub­ject­ed to a 5 year polit­i­cal pro­hi­bi­tion will be for­bid­den from found­ing or par­tic­i­pat­ing  as cadres or lead­ers in any oth­er polit­i­cal par­ty, dur­ing this period.

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.