Turkish top court accepts indictment seeking ban of pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party

Supporters of pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) shout slogans during a protest against the arrest of 82 people including members of their party, in Istanbul, Turkey.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court accepted an indictment on Monday seeking a ban on the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for alleged ties to militants, CNN Turk said, opening the way for a case to close parliament’s third-largest party.

The case is the culmination of a years-long crackdown on the HDP, in which thousands of its members have been tried on mainly terrorism-related charges. The party denies links to terrorism and has said the case is a “political operation”.

The top court had sent the indictment back to the Court of Cassation prosecutor in March due to procedural omissions in the document and the prosecutor refiled the lawsuit earlier this month. There was no immediate statement from the court itself.

State-owned Anadolu news agency has said the indictment demands a block on HDP’s bank accounts and a political ban on some 500 party members.

Turkey has a long history of shutting down political parties seen as a threat and has in the past banned a series of other pro-Kurdish parties.

Critics say Turkey’s judiciary is under the influence of politics, a claim that the ruling AK Party and its Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) allies deny.

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