EU parliament head slams possible court ban of Turkish ruling party

[JURIST] European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [official website] Thursday slammed a bid by Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya [official profile, in Turkish] to have the country's ruling Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish] legally dissolved [JURIST news archive] for not respecting Turkey's strict secular principles. Poettering said it would be "absurd" for the Constitutional Court of Turkey [official website, in Turkish] to close the party as it had come to power through democratic means. On Wednesday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn [official website] called for the Turkey to respect democratic principles [Turkish Daily News report] in what was considered a message of support for the government. Rehn has previously warned [JURIST report] that the closure of the AKP could have could be serious ramifications for Turkey's bid to join the European Union [JURIST news archive]. MSNBC has more.

In March, Yalcinkaya petitioned the court to disband the AKP and bar Turkish 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 last week, arguing that shutting down the party would leave a political void and endanger Turkey's democracy.



 

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