Political parties can be established by the submission of the required documents to the Ministry of Interior Affairs by at least 30 eligible Turkish citizens (according to the Political Parties Act (PPA), Article 8). However, the office of the chief public prosecutor may examine the constitutionality of the foundation and activities of a political party at any time after its establishment. The 1982 constitution (Article 68) states that “the statutes and programs, as well as the activities of political parties, shall not be in conflict with the independence of the state, its indivisible integrity with its territory and nation, human rights, the principles of equality and rule of law, sovereignty of the nation, the principles of the democratic and secular republic; they shall not aim to protect or establish class or group dictatorship or dictatorship of any kind, nor shall they incite citizens to crime.” According to Law No. 2820 on Political Parties (Articles 78, 81 and 82), parties cannot be founded on regional, racial, communitarian, religious or sectarian grounds. Since 1963, when the Constitutional Court started to supervise the activities of political parties, a total of 27 political parties have been shut down, mainly on the bases of separatist or non-secular activities. The constitution (Article 76) and the relevant laws contain certain conditions determining conditions that candidates for office must meet. Although the constitution, Law No. 298 on the Basic Principles of Elections and the Electoral Registry, Law No. 2839 on Deputy Elections, and Law No. 2972 on Local Administrations Elections contain provisions for fair and orderly elections and do not discriminate against any political party or candidate, the nomination process is rather centralized, antidemocratic and exclusionary due to the relative freedom given to the parties’ central executive committees in determining the candidates (Law No. 2820 on Political Parties, Article 37). The 10% electoral threshold that parties must meet in order to win parliamentary representation (Law No. 2839 on Deputy Elections, Article 33) is a major obstacle for all small political parties. However, in 2008, the European Court of Human Rights found the 10% threshold excessive but not a violation of Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 of the European Convention on Human Rights. An independent candidate who secures the majority of the votes in his or her electoral district can be elected without regard to the nationwide threshold. Therefore, in the last parliamentary elections of 2007, pro-Kurdish candidates entered the elections as independents (independents received 5.3% of votes nationwide) in mostly Kurdish electoral districts, and were elected to parliament without any obstacle. However, three right-wing parties that received more than 2% and less than 6% of the vote did in fact fail to enter parliament due to the national threshold. In the last parliamentary elections, the candidates winning parliamentary seats represented about 88% of the valid votes actually cast, as compared to just 54% in 2002 . In local municipality elections, a simple plurality system of vote-tallying is in effect.
On December 11, 2009, the Constitutional Court shut down a party due to “support of terrorism,” a criteria accepted for the outlawing of parties in the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights. This was the seventh party with roots in this particular strain of Kurdish politics to be banned since the early 1990s. Previous closures have been made on the grounds of “separatism.”