Rice to address US-Turkish panel on ties, AKP closure case

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to elaborate Washington's view over a legal closure case against Turkey's ruling AKP.

Rice to address US-Turkish panel on ties, AKP closure case
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to elaborate Washington's view over a legal closure case against Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) when she speaks at an annual conference of a top U.S.-Turkish business group next week, according to Turkish Daily News' report.

Turkey's chief prosecutor last month petitioned the Constitutional Court for the closure of the party, which dominates the 550-seat Parliament with 340 lawmakers.

The indictment, which the Constitutional Court has agreed to consider, says the AKP has become "the focal point of anti-secular activities."

AKP officials deny the charges.

European Union officials have condemned the chief prosecutor's move, hinting that the AKP's closure would likely lead to a suspension of Turkey's membership talks with the bloc.

Matt Bryza, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, has said that the AKP's landslide victory in last year's general elections should be respected during the legal process, but has also called for "respect for the democratic institutions and the rule of law."

Some U.S. intellectuals have urged President George W. Bush's administration to actively work against the closure case.

When Rice addresses the American-Turkish Council's (ATC) conference next Tuesday, her remarks will reflect the Bush administration's position on the matter in the most comprehensive and updated way, analysts said.

The ATC brings together scores of major U.S. and Turkish companies, including top defense and energy firms, doing business in each other's country and seeking to boost political, defense, economic and cultural ties.

The Constitutional Court, Turkey's highest judicial body, will now decide on the party's future. The court has in the past closed down a number of parties on similar grounds, but none of them had a political prominence comparable to that of the AKP.

In addition to Rice, National Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül, State Minister for the Economy Mehmet Şimşek, State Minister for Foreign Trade Kürsad Tüzmen, U.S. congressmen, senior U.S. and Turkish military and defense officials, diplomats and business leaders will attend the ATC conference, titled "U.S.-Turkey Relations: Regional Allies, Global Partners," which will be held Sunday through Wednesday.


Last Mod: 11 Nisan 2008, 15:18
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