Constitutional Court rapporteur asks for rejection of HDP's request to postpone closure case

A Constitutional Court rapporteur has rejected the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) request to postpone the closure case against the party until after the upcoming elections.

The Constitutional Court (AYM) will decide tomorrow on the request by the HDP that the closure case should be postponed until the 2023 elections are over.

A rapporteur of the court asked for the rejection of the HDP's request, claiming that “the court has a good grasp of the case, and the file of the case is sufficiently voluminous.”

The rapporteur’s opinion is not binding.

The Constitutional Court is currently being asked to order the closure of the HDP, a political party with 56 deputies in Turkey’s parliament. An indictment against the party seeks to ban 451 politicians and party members from organized political activity or membership of political parties for a period of five years and forfeiture of the party’s assets. On January 5, the Constitutional Court agreed to a request by the chief prosecutor of the Court of Cassation for an interim measure of freezing the party’s bank accounts containing treasury support which political party groups in parliament are entitled to receive.

During the closure process, the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation can present corroborating evidence to the case file, while the HDP can present additional defence. The HDP has already submitted to the Constitutional Court its defence in response to the accusations and HDP officials will make a verbal defence on a day to be scheduled.

After this process, a Constitutional Court rapporteur, who will collect information and documents related to the case, will prepare a report on the merits of the case. In the meantime, the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation and the HDP will be able to submit corroborating evidence or additional written defence.

After the distribution of the report to members of the Supreme Court, the President of the Constitutional Court, Zühtü Arslan, will set a date for a meeting where the members will come together to discuss the closure request.

A 15-person Constitutional Court committee will make a decision in the closure case against the HDP. A 2/3 majority of the members attending the meeting, i.e. 10 out of 15 members, will decide whether the party will be closed pursuant to the Article 69 of the Constitution or whether the party will be partially or completely deprived of treasury aid depending on the severity of the accusations in question.

The final decision will then be notified to the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation and the HDP and will be published by the Official Gazette. Should the Constitutional Court rule that the party members who are facing a political ban caused the closure of the party through their remarks and actions, these party members will not be able to serve as a founder, member, administrator and supervisor of another party for 5 years, starting from the publication of the final decision in the Official Gazette.