HDP warns of Erdogan’s private war as it rallies support against closure threat

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TURKISH President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was accused of “waging a private war” against the opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) today as its leaders appealed to the international community for support.

HDP co-chairs Pervan Buldan and Mithat Sancar outlined the serious threat of closure facing the party, but said that such a move would not provide a solution to a deepening political and economic crisis.

“I want you to know that we come from a tradition whose parties have been closed the most, with new ones opening to take their place,” Ms Buldan explained.

“The removal of immunity from deputies and their imprisonment is the same. We know that the [Justice and Development Party] AKP government has kept these people in prison as hostages for almost five years,” she said.

But she said that “millions of people have voted for the HDP” which is Turkey’s third-largest party and warned that “it will not do any good to hang the sword of Damocles over HDP MPs.”

Central to the crisis lies the refusal to deal with the so-called Kurdish question by peaceful and democratic means, with the country’s resources used to wage a war both against the HDP and the Kurdish people, she said.

Mr Sancar warned of “a crisis of democracy” in Turkey saying that 2021 would be a crucial year in the future of the country.

The threat of closure has intensified with the Supreme Court investigating the HDP over alleged terror links. The neofascist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Mr Erdogan’s junior partner in government, has led the demands for the HDP to be outlawed.

Mr Erdogan outlined a new human rights plan on Monday which has been dismissed as a farce, while the HDP has thousands of its members and supporters behind bars, including hundreds of elected officials and parliamentarians.

The plan is seen as an overture to the European Union, with the government trying to get its bid for full member status back on track, a move likely to be opposed by leading EU states.

The HDP has however called for a tougher response from the international community, calling for the EU, the United Nations and the Committee to Prevent Torture to break their silence and take action.

“We have thousands of Navalnys in Turkish jails,” the party said in a reference to the outrage expressed by the international community over the treatment of the nationalist Russian businessman.

The HDP has insisted that Turkey abides by December’s European Court of Human Rights ruling that its jailed former co-chair Selahattin Demirtas must be immediately released.

A meeting of the Council of Europe later this month will decide what, if any, action will be taken.

Source: Morning Star

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