Turkey: HDP leaders say preparations in place for plan B and C if court forces party to shut down

Kurdistan_Turkey

On Friday, the members of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said that they had preparations in place to propagate their ideology and cause through a different banner, if they got banned. The country ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has accused the HDP of supporting militant and outlawed group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

HDP has been put under radar as the country’s apex appeals court has ordered an enquiry into Turkey’s third largest party. Many anticipate that the top court ruling would ban the party. The move came as a part of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Human Rights Action Plan, announced earlier this week. Interestingly, right after Erdogan’s speech over the new action plan on March 2, AKP’s deputy parliamentary group chairman, Cahit Ozkan said, “God willing, we will shut down the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the eyes of the people.”

HDP members seemed to be prepared for any outcome, as the party leader Pervin Buldan told foreign reporters, “We as the HDP have B and C plans of course. If the HDP is shut down of course we have our own preparations. We come from such a tradition which has always had parties being shut down,” “We have until now continued to fight on by establishing other parties after a party is shut down. It will be like that in the future,” she added, without giving out much details.

Over the past decade, Erdogan administration has detained thousands of the pro-Kurdish HDP members and dismissed over dozens of its elected mayors. It shows the country’s treatment of opposition groups. Critics have accused Erdogan, who has been ruling the country for over a decade, for trampling Turkish democracy by employing different tactics. The recent one being using the new action plan to ban HDP.

Turkish authorities raised human rights issue over PKK’s executions of 13 prisoners, including Turkish military and police personnel, during a recent army operation, which was executed to bring the captives back from Iraq’s Gara region.

Turkish leader in his Tuesday address stated that the proposed human rights reforms would be implemented in a selective manner. Erdogan said, “We will not water every flower we see. While watering a flower with its head bent means justice, watering a thorn means cruelty.” To silence his western critics, Turkish Premier added that Ankara would also publish an annual human rights report, and would set a specific committee dedicated to monitoring human rights conditions in prisons.

Ankara might need to do more to truly elevate its human rights standards at par with international level. The country is currently known world’s leading jailer of the journalist. Besides, it ranked 107 out of 128 countries in the latest Rule of Law Index by World Justice Project, which exhibits level of corruption, fundamental rights, regulatory enforcement and civil justice in a nation.

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