Originally published: https://anfenglishmobile.com/news/lawyer-eren-erdogan-s-calls-confirm-our-view-66383

According to a report, Erdoğan has taken members of the Turkish Constitutional Court to task by phone for lifting the financial blockade against the HDP. Lawyer Serhat Eren sees the view of a political judiciary confirmed.

01 April 2023 | Roni Aram, ANF

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is the third largest party in Turkey’s parliament. Since 2021, proceedings to ban the party have been pending before the Turkish Constitutional Court. A date of 11 April has been set for the HDP leader’s oral defence. The request for a stay of proceedings until after the elections on 14 May was rejected by the court. At the same time, however, the Constitutional Court lifted the ban on public party funding imposed on the HDP earlier this year. Of the 15 members of the court, eight voted in favour of lifting the financial blockade.

Court reporter Seyhan Avşar of Halk TV reported on Thursday that an unnamed member of the Constitutional Court told her that Turkish President Erdoğan had called some members who voted to lift the ban and expressed his disappointment. This is the first time a member of the Constitutional Court has made the government’s direct intervention public.

Lawyer Serhat Eren from the HDP Commission for Law and Human Rights spoke to ANF and stated: “We have said from the beginning that the lawsuit against our party is political. We have stated that there is no legal aspect to this case and that the proceedings were initiated under pressure from the government and as part of a political lynching campaign. If we go back even further, we come to the multi-dimensional operation launched against our party after 2015. Even then, our political destruction was decided. It was an operation aimed at completely liquidating the Kurds, who make up the main part of our party, from the political arena and rendering them incapable of acting. The idea of the HDP was meant to be completely eliminated. This plan was part of the annihilation plan (Çöktürme Planı) against the Kurdish movement adopted by the state in 2014, which has been implemented since Erdoğan unilaterally broke off talks on a solution to the Kurdish question. The HDP has constantly raised this issue.”

Lawyer Eren also pointed out that already the financial freeze by the Constitutional Court had no legal basis: “The General Prosecutor of the Court of Cassation twice requested the freezing of the accounts containing the state aid, but the Constitutional Court rejected this request. On 5 January, shortly before the date on which the grant was to be paid, the Constitutional Court, at the request of the Prosecutor General of the Court of Cassation, took this circumstance into account and blocked our accounts, although there was no difference with the previous requests. This procedure is not regulated in the Constitutional Court’s founding statute and does not occur in Turkey’s domestic legislation. There was no legal legitimacy for the Constitutional Court to take a decision in a precautionary measure while the case was still pending.”

Serhat Eren interprets Erdoğan’s call to the members of the Constitutional Court, reported in the press, as an admission of what is already known: “We had already stated that the decision to block was made under pressure from the government. Now we have learned from the press that Erdoğan called the judges and held them accountable. This is a statement that justifies all our previous statements in which we strongly emphasised that the proceedings were opened politically and on the instructions of the government.

“The fact that Erdoğan is calling members of the country’s highest judiciary and holding them accountable shows very clearly. The judiciary is completely subordinated, dependent, dominated and pressured by the government, including Erdoğan. It has reached a point where it acts completely according to the instructions of the AKP/MHP government. Therefore, it is not possible to predict the Constitutional Court’s decision on the closure of our party. It appears that the seven members who voted against the annulment will act completely politically, regardless of the documents, information and evidence we have presented. It is therefore difficult to predict how the other members will ultimately act in relation to the closure. The decision to lift the lock does not mean that these members will take the same stance in the event of closure.”