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Turkey: Political Parties

Volume 697: debated on Wednesday 9 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether the Government of Turkey's proposal to dissolve the Democratic Society Party and to disqualify its members for political life is compatible with its application to join the European Union; and what representations they are prepared to make on this matter. [HL999]

It is the chief prosecutor, not the Government, who has asked the Turkish Constitutional Court to consider the case for the Democratic Society Party (DTP) to be dissolved, on the grounds of supporting separatism and terrorist activity. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has stated that he will not lift the immunity of individual DTP MPs, who will continue to serve in Parliament regardless of the outcome of the closure case (a ban on political activity does not preclude an individual from being elected to Parliament). We commend this decision, which recognises the political importance of including representatives of the Kurdish population in democratic processes.

Both the constitutional court and state prosecutors are independent of the Turkish Government and it is important that they remain so. We do not therefore intend to make representations to the Government of Turkey on this issue at the present time. We trust that the court will reach a fair and impartial judgment after full consideration of the evidence in this case.

As part of its preparation for accession to the EU, Turkey must pursue a comprehensive policy of reform, including fundamental rights and representation of minority groups in Turkey.