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HDP Congress will ‘reaffirm determination to bring democracy’ to Turkey, party says

TURKEY’S People’s Democratic Party’s (HDP) fifth annual congress opens in Ankara on Sunday amid renewed pressure on the party as the country faces a deepening economic crisis.

The gathering takes place as 108 leading members of the leftist opposition party face lengthy prison sentences and the threat of closure looms with a court case filed demanding it is shut down.

It said that the conference would “reaffirm our determination to bring democracy, justice and peace to this country.

Heavy pressure is expected as party members from across the country head to the Turkish capital. Previous gatherings have seen police block coaches from arriving and a number of detentions.

But HDP spokeswoman Ebru Gunay struck a defiant tone saying: “No matter how much they want to get in the way of our march, we will intensify our struggle even more. 

“Our congress will be a clear answer to fascism.

It is likely to be the last annual congress before Turkey goes to the polls. Elections are due next year however analysts have suggested that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may opt for a snap vote. 

While he faces pressure due to an acute economic crisis and spiralling inflation, the bullish leader was given a boost after both Finland and Sweden conceded to his demands in return for supporting their respective bids to join Nato.

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