Bahçeli urges HDP's closure after sentencing of ex-chairs

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has called for the closure of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) following the sentencing of its former co-chairs over deadly street protests in 2014.

"The organic and organizational bond between HDP and PKK has been legally registered," Bahçeli stated during a parliamentary meeting on May 21.

His remarks follow the conclusion of a high-profile trial on May 16, where former co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish HDP, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were handed sentences of 42 years and 30 years and three months, respectively.

They were convicted on charges including "disrupting the integrity of the state," among others.

Bahçeli criticized the country's top court for "delaying" the closure case against the HDP. "Why does the Constitutional Court drag on the closure case of HDP?" he asked. "HDP and its successors should be closed."

The HDP faces an ongoing legal battle over its alleged links to the PKK, designated as a terrorist organization by Türkiye, the United States and the European Union.

"Those who breathe the air and eat the bread of this country must also bear the legal cost of their betrayal," Bahçeli added. "When will [Peoples' Equality and Democracy Party] DEM be held accountable for its intentions against Türkiye?"

In the trial on street protests, which included 108 defendants such as HDP executives and officials, prosecutors sought 38 aggravated life sentences across 29 different charges. The investigation resulted in the arrest of 17 HDP officials in October 2020 and has seen over 30 hearings to date.

The case, commonly referred to as the "Kobani case," revolves around the 2014 protests that led to violent clashes in eastern Türkiye. The...

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