"A ban on HDP would be a very heavy blow to democracy in Turkey"
A former judge of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and a former deputy in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, Riza Turmen, said that a possible ban on the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) would be a further blow to democracy in Turkey and worsen the deadlock in the Kurdish question.
Turmen, who had also served as the Permanent Representative of Turkey to the Council of Europe from 1998 to 2008, reminded that pro-Kurdish parties were banned several times in the past and the ECHR ruled to violation in all cases.
Speaking to Mehmet Aslan of Mezopotamya News Agency on the closure case against HDP in Turkey's Constitutional Court, Turmen said:
"There ought to be evidence of instigating violence for a court to rule on a ban. Political parties are allowed to say anything except this [advocating violence]. It should be demonstrated that the party's political program is in violation with democratic principles. Otherwise it may not be banned. If HDP is banned, the ECHR wlll rule against such a decision."
"In case the court bans HDP, and particularly if the ban is issued before the coming elections, this will be a very heavy blow on democracy. It will damage the legitimacy of the elections. For what reasons are they going to ban HDP? Most of the accusations in the indictment are similar to those previously directed at Selahattin Demirtas. The ECHR had ruled in the case of Demirtas that he should be immediately released. It ruled that his arrest constituted a violation. The allegations against Demirtas are now being used to accuse HDP (...) This is in contradiction with democracy. Banning the second largest opposition party of Turkey would be a very heavy blow on democracy."
Commenting on the possible impacts of a ban on the Kurdish question in Turkey, Turmen said:
"How are you supposed to solve the Kurdish question without HDP? A Turkey without HDP is actually not thinkable. A democracy without HDP is not possible (...) If you want armed conflict to end and the Kurdish question to be solved through political and peaceful means, you should explain how you'll do it without HDP."
Turmen also criticized the table of six, an election alliance in the making of six center and right wing opposition parties, for not having addressed the Kurdish question and the legal case against HDP in their recently released joint program.
"They claim that they aim to restore democracy in Turkey. How will you do that without solving the Kurdish question? Democracy can be restored only by solving the Kurdish question, and the solution of the Kurdish question is possible with the restoration of democracy. The two issues are interdependent."