EU ‘deeply concerned,’ condemns move to ban Turkey pro-Kurdish party

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The European Union on Thursday said it was “deeply concerned” about attempts to shut down Turkey’s main pro-Kurdish opposition party, warning the move heightens worries over “backsliding” by Ankara.

The criticism from Brussels comes a day before EU chiefs Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel hold video talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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“Closing the second largest opposition party would violate the rights of millions of voters in Turkey,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and enlargement commissioner Oliver Varhelyi said in a statement.

“It adds to the EU’s concerns regarding the backsliding in fundamental rights in Turkey and undermines the credibility of the Turkish authorities’ stated commitment to reforms.”

The statement insisted that Ankara “urgently needs to respect its core democratic obligations, including respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

It also criticized the decision by Turkey’s parliament to revoke the seat of opposition party MP and outspoken rights defender Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu after his controversial conviction over a social media post.

Turkey’s top public prosecutor on Wednesday demanded that the leftist opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) be dissolved over its alleged links to outlawed Kurdish militants.

The 609-page indictment put before the Constitutional Court accuses the HDP of being a threat to the “indivisible integrity of the state” and seeks to ban over 600 party members from engaging in politics for five years.

Ankara told foreign countries to keep out of its domestic affairs after Washington warned the authorities against the attempts to shut down the party.

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