A majority of Turkish people support the principle of secularism, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK Party faces closure for alleged Islamist activities, said on Sunday.
"The principle of secularism was enshrined in the constitution by the will of our parliament and the support of our nation ... and today a majority of our people back secularist system of state," Erdogan told a gathering of his party.
In a predominantly Muslim Turkey, secularism accepted in 1920s.
Turkey has been locked in a political crisis since a chief prosecutor last month asked the Constitutional Court to shut down the AK Party and ban its leaders, including Erdogan, from politics for five years.
The court says the case could take six to seven months to conclude, raising the possibility of prolonged political instability.
Erdogan was re-elected last year, blamed the main opposition for exploiting the secularism principle in politics.
"There is no need for a vote on secularism in Turkey. Nobody doubts whether our nation support secularism or not other than Mr. Baykal," Erdogan said in reference to the main opposition party CHP's chairman Deniz Baykal.
The European Union, which Turkey seeks to join, says shutting the AK Party would be contrary to the bloc's democratic values.
Last Mod: 14 Nisan 2008, 16:31