Erdogan: Political tensions would be fixed

"The fair application of justice and Turkey coming out of this process with success should be a common desire for us all," said Prime Minister Erdogan.

Erdogan: Political tensions would be fixed
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, fighting in court for his and the governing party's political survival, said on Friday political tensions would be fixed and that democracy was not under threat.

Turkey was rocked this week by reports that an ultra-nationalist illegal organisation planned to trigger a military coup against the government. The widening police investigation comes as the AK Party defends itself in court against charges of trying to introduce Islamic rule.

The party could be closed down, a move that might lead to an early parliamentary election in the EU-applicant country.

"I want to stress once again that the democratic system is working with its institutions and rules in Turkey within the framework of the law," Erdogan told AK Party members.

"Turkey has the experience to overcome this painful period and solve its problems with its domestic dynamics. Nobody should be worried," he said in comments broadcast live on television.

Turkish opposition parties have accused the government of using the Ergenekon probe to hit back at critics of the ruling AK Party as it fights for its survival in court.

"We think it is not right that unfounded allegations should be made before the (Ergenekon) indictment is announced," Erdogan said.

Political analysts said the domestic turmoil came within the framework of a long-running battle between a secularist elite, including army generals and judges, and the popular AK Party, whose grassroots come from more religious backgrounds.

The Constitutional Court is expected to rule within three to six weeks on whether or not to close down the AK Party for allegedly seeking to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. The court will also decide on whether to have Erdogan and 70 other leading figures, banned from party politics for five years.

The European Union, which Turkey hopes to join, has criticised the closure case, saying such political issues should be debated in parliament and decided through the ballot box, not in the courts.

Last Mod: 05 Temmuz 2008, 20:24
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