Turkey's Justice Ministry wants case against president dropped

Abdullah Gul, a founder of the ruling AK Party, was elected president in 2007.

Turkey's Justice Ministry wants case against president dropped

Turkey's Justice Ministry has asked the Appeals Court to overturn a decision to try President Abdullah Gul on fraud charges, state-run Anatolian news agency said on Monday, increasing chances the charges will be dropped.

Abdullah Gul, a founder of the ruling AK Party, was elected president in 2007.

The counterfeiting claims date back to the late 1990s, when the Welfare Party, a party that most AK Party founders left to form the ruling party, was accused of misappropriating funds from the Treasury.

As president, Gul enjoys immunity.

Former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, who was ousted by the military in 1997, was found guilty five years ago for the same fraud case.

A court in Sincan, near the capital Ankara, in May ruled that Gul, who has immunity as president, should stand trial for the case.

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin told reporters in Ankara that his office has requested the court case be dropped, Anatolian said.

Gul has rejected the charges, saying "that he did not have any hesitations about being tried in case there were some allegations about him."

He also said that "I was the deputy chairman of the Welfare Party ten years ago and responsible for foreign policy, and I was not authorized or responsible about monetary and financial issues."

Turkey's secularist establishment has used the courts in the past against the AK Party, which ended the traditional parties' decades-old grip on power when it swept to government with a huge majority in 2002. A failed 2008 court attempt to close the AK Party plunged Turkey into political chaos and hurt markets.



Agencies

Last Mod: 08 Eylül 2009, 12:01
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