Turkey's court case poses risk to EU bid: Solana

Moves by Turkish prosecutors to ban PM Erdogan's political party pose a "grave"' risk to Turkey's bid to join EU, Solana said.

Turkey's court case poses risk to EU bid: Solana

Bloomberg reported "moves by Turkish prosecutors to ban Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political party pose a "grave'' risk to Turkey's bid to join the European Union, the bloc's foreign-policy chief, Javier Solana, said."

Turkey's Constitutional Court last week agreed to hear a lawsuit that would outlaw Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, turning the courtroom into the scene of a power struggle that threatens to destabilize Turkey.

"I hope the supreme court is sensible in its ruling because it would be a hard blow for Turkey and a blow for Turkey's relations with us in Europe,'' Solana told the European Parliament's foreign-affairs committee in Brussels today.

"The consequences could be very grave."

Turkey has inched toward the EU since starting entry talks in 2005. It has begun talks in six of the bloc's 35 policy areas and completed one. The EU blocked talks in eight areas.

Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya filed the lawsuit on March 14, arguing that Erdogan's party is allegedly seeking Islamist agenda.

"Nothing Good"

Turkey "would be in a very serious constitutional position were the party to be outlawed," Solana said.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, he said the impact on Turkey's EU bid would be "nothing good, really -- I don't want to be more specific."

Stressing that the EU endorsed those elections as free and fair, Solana said it would be a violation of European norms for a court to overturn a legitimate result reached at the ballot box.

A court-ordered ouster of a democratically elected leader is "not something very normal," Solana said. "It would be rather unusual."

Erdogan is counting on his popularity to ride out the legal confrontation. Economic growth averaging 7 percent has won him broad support among the middle classes.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn will visit Ankara on Friday for talks coming at a difficult time for the AK Party, which won a sweeping re-election last July.

Last Mod: 08 Nisan 2008, 17:23
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