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Turkish PM says ruling party might amend constitution to block legal challenge

[JURIST] Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish] may attempt to amend the country's constitution if necessary to block a legal challenge [JURIST report] brought by Turkish prosecutors seeking to disband the party, Turkish Prime Minister and AKP leader Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] said Thursday. Prosecutors petitioned the Constitutional Court of Turkey to disband AKP [JURIST report] in March, accusing the party of being a "focal point of anti-secular activities." The Constitutional Court has banned several Islamist parties in the past for violating constitutional obligations to respect Turkey's strict secular principles. AKP has until the end of the month to prepare a defense or seek an extension before oral arguments begin.

In March, EU Enlargement Commissioner Ollie Rehn said the AKP court case could further impede Turkey's bid for EU membership [JURIST news archive], as such a political issue would normally be debated in parliament and decided by a ballot in a typical European democracy. Reuters has more.

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