Turkish prosecutor seeks closure of ruling party

AK Party will make its presentation to the court on Thursday.

Turkish prosecutor seeks closure of ruling party
Turkey's Chief Prosecutor outlined his case on Tuesday for having the governing AK Party closed on charges of being anti-secular.

The chief prosecutor of the Court of Appeal made a 90- minute oral presentation before a panel of Constitutional Court judges, a court official who declined to be named told Reuters.

AK Party will make its presentation to the court on Thursday.

Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya says the party should be closed for anti-secular activities and 71 leading figures, including Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, banned from party membership for five years.

The AK Party, which was re-elected last year, denies the charges and says they are politically motivated.

The case has deepened political and economic uncertainty. Istanbul's main share index fell more than 4 percent, bond yields rose and the lira currency weakened due to global markets and domestic political concerns.

EU criticism 

The court official said Yalcinkaya argued that a recent statement by AK Party deputy chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Firat that the revolution of the Republic's founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, was traumatic was evidence of the party's anti-secular orientation.

The rest of his statement mirrored his written case.

Most political analysts expect the party to be outlawed and some members, including Erdogan, banned from belonging to a party for five years. AK Party representatives suggest a ruling is unlikely before August.

The European Union has criticised the case and a move against a democratically elected party could hurt Turkey's accession process.

If the AK Party is closed and Erdogan removed from power analysts expect an early parliamentary election will follow.

Turkish courts have banned more than 20 political parties for alleged Islamist or Kurdish separatist activities and a predecessor to the AK Party was banned in 2001.

Reuters
Last Mod: 01 Temmuz 2008, 16:08
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