The Constitutional Court begins deliberating on Monday on whether the ruling AK Party has engaged in Islamist activities and should be dissolved, a move that could plunge Turkey into political crisis.
The court’s prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, argues that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islam-inspired AK party is trying to gradually introduce Sharia Islamic law in
The prosecution file is largely based on speeches by AK party members and media reports. “Those are borderline extracts from the AKP, such as the ones on headscarves in universities”, said
Secularists argue that such legislation, as well as other moves including those restricting alcohol sales, is proof that the AKP-led government is aiming to make
They also oppose
Observers consider that the secularist camp, which is pushing for the prosecution case in the
The secularist establishment is not a homogenous group
The secularist establishment, which is traditionally associated with the military, the judiciary and part of academia, is not a homogenous group. Many older military officers do oppose the AK party, including two retired generals recently arrested for allegedly plotting a coup against the government. They will go on trial in October along with 85 other suspects.
The military, however, cannot be reduced to a militant secularist group. “There is now evidence that the force commanders were planning a coup in 2004. The reason they did not carry it out was that they did not find support among their junior officers,” Grenville Byford, a Paris-based researcher and consultant on Turkish politics told
“Absolutely rotten” decisions
As a result, many analysts think the population is unlikely to react to the possible closure of the AKP. Grenville Byford disagrees. In his opinion, the
Tensions run high in
A verdict is expected in the first days of August, when seven of the
The ruling could go one of three ways. The court can shut down the AKP and impose political bans on Erdogan and his colleagues, it can completely or partially cut treasury aid to the party, or it can throw out the case.
If the Court decides to ban the AKP, new elections will take place later this year. AKP members could then decide to form a new party or run as independents.
Date created : 2008-07-28