HDP’s honorary president says Erdogan must be “put on trial”

HDP’s honorary president says Erdogan must be “put on trial”
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As the most consequential election for Turkey approaches, HDP’s honorary president says that Erdogan must be tried for watching “the earthquake kill the people.”

On Monday, over 50 politicians and intellectuals from 22 countries signed an open letter organized by Progressive International. Signatories of the letter, including British Labor Party Jeremy Corbyn, urged Turkey’s government to “end the legal attacks” against the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) which is currently fighting a case against its closure.

In the letter, the chance that the party will be closed, especially in the lead-up to the May elections, is described as an action that “places Turkish democracy in dire jeopardy.”

The letter emphasizes that “If the Erdogan government dissolves the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), it will likewise dissolve the foundations of democracy in Turkey.”

The case for HDP’s closure dates back to 2021, when the chief public prosecutor of the Court of Cassation applied to Turkey’s Supreme Court with claims that the HDP has links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The HDP has always denied such allegations.

Oscar Rickett writes in the Middle East Eye that dozens of the party’s members languish in Turkey’s jails: “108 of [the HDP’s] leaders are on trial over a tweet posted in 2014 in solidarity with the mainly Kurdish population of the Syrian town of Kobani.”

Rickett also highlights that though the upcoming election is critical for Turkey’s future, the main opposition coalition has refused to have the HDP at the table.

Despite this, Rickett says that the HDP base may vote for the coalition’s candidate for president, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, in the election. Ertugrul Kurkcu, the honorary president of the HDP who spoke to Middle East Eye, said, “The general inclination among the Kurdish people is to vote for whoever gets rid of Erdogan. Turkish democracy depends on the Kurdish question because what you have right now is a kind of neo-colonialism for the Kurds and authoritarianism for the rest of the population.”

Kurkcu also spoke about the Erdogan administration’s inefficient earthquake response, saying that the government “watched the earthquake kill the people.” Kurkcu also said, “I believe that in a democratic country, Erdogan should be put on trial for the deaths of tens of thousands of people."