Turkish high court considers ban on ruling party

[JURIST] The Constitutional Court of Turkey [official website, in Turkish] began proceedings on Monday to determine whether to ban [JURIST news archive] the country's ruling Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish], which has allegedly failed to respect secular principles of the country's constitution [text]. In March, Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya [official profile, in Turkish] petitioned the court to disband the AKP and bar Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul [BBC profiles] from political office. The AKP filed a response [IPS report] to the dissolution petition in May, arguing that shutting down the party would leave a political void endangering Turkey's democracy. Opponents of the party have said that party officials will likely take revenge on the opposition if not banned, but Erdogan has denied the accusations [Hurriyet report], though his party had previously threatened to change the country's constitution [JURIST report] to avoid the challenge. AP has more. Hurriyet has local coverage.

In May, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [official website] said [JURIST report] it would be "absurd" for the court to close the party, since it had come to power through democratic means, and EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn [official website] warned [JURIST report] in March that the closure of the AKP could be detrimental to Turkey's effort to join the European Union [JURIST news archive]. The party recently attracted a great deal of criticism and media attention for trying to lift a ban [JURIST news archive] on the wearing of headscarves in institutions of higher learning.

 

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.