|KHRP Dismayed by Turkey’s Latest Party Closure Case|
KHRP is deeply dismayed at today’s Constitutional Court ruling to close the Demokratik Toplum Partisi (Democratic Society Party, DTP)—the first pro-Kurdish party in the Turkish parliament in 14 years.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) later found that the DEP MPs had been denied the right to a fair trial, a violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), and that the deprivation of their parliamentary mandate was in breach of the right to free elections under Article 3 of Protocol 1 to the ECHR. The ECtHR also found violations of the ECHR in a number of other party closure cases in Turkey.
As was outlined in KHRP’s briefing paper on ‘Protecting Politicians or Protecting Democracy? Parliamentary Immunity and Party Closure in the Run-Up to Local Elections in Turkey’ in March this year, parliamentary immunity ought to protect the electorate, allowing the candidates they have selected to talk openly and to adopt policies without fear of prosecution, and is the practice in most democratic countries. The systematic harassment and persecution of elected representatives by unelected state agents underscores the need for a thorough overhaul of mechanisms in Turkey governing the banning of parties and prosecutions of MPs.
‘Closing elected political parties down in Turkey is a clear example that the rights to freedom of association, free expression, and to free and fair elections are not safe in Turkey’, said Chief Executive, Kerim Yildiz. ‘This latest party closure is not only a major set-back to the Kurdish issue, but it is also another devastating blow to democracy and political stability in Turkey, and indeed to the country’s reform agenda vis-à-vis its EU-accession bid. Once again the severe failings of the Turkish legal and political system have been laid bare for all to see.’