Turkey's governing party avoids ban

Turkey is roasted.

* Erdogan and his party of sly jihadists have recently purged the military and the judiciary of many  of their secular opponents, and this judge was either intimidated or sympathetic to the cause of Islam.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s highest court on Wednesday ruled against closing the country’s governing party but cut its state funding by half in response to charges that it threatened the nation’s secular regime during its six years in power.

The case called for banning the party on the grounds that it had steered Turkey, whose citizens are mostly Muslim, away from its constitutionally mandated secularism.  The case was part of a broader struggle between the party, whose members are observant Muslims, and the secular elite, which includes the military and judicial systems.

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Turkey’s governing party avoids ban
By Sebnem Arsu
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
ISTANBUL: Turkey’s highest court on Wednesday ruled against closing the country’s governing party but cut its state funding by half in response to charges that it threatened the nation’s secular regime during its six years in power.

The case had paralyzed Turkish politics since the charges were filed in March and had moved Turkey to a final confrontation between religious and secular Turks about who will rule the nation.

The indictment before the court accused the governing party, Justice and Development, known as AK for the initials of its Turkish name, of trying to turn Turkey, a secular democracy, into an Islamic state. Six of the eleven judges voted for the closure of the party. Turkish law requires that seven judges vote in favor for the ban to be instituted.

The judges had begun to deliberate on the charges on Monday. The 162-page indictment, brought by the country’s chief prosecutor, sought to close the party down and ban 71 senior members, including President Abdullah Gul and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, from politics for five years.

Speaking at a news conference broadcast from the court in Ankara, the court spokesman said the court had ruled against the charges but that it was still issuing a warning to the governing party.

“There is no verdict on closure because the seven votes required by the constitution for closure were not reached,” the spokesman, Hasim Kilic, said. “However, in this ruling, a serious warning has been issued to the party, and I hope this conclusion will be evaluated and actions will be taken accordingly.”

With its control of the presidency, the Parliament and the government, the governing party — led by Erdogan — has come further than any other in modern Turkey in breaking the grip of the secular establishment on power.

The case called for banning the party on the grounds that it had steered Turkey, whose citizens are mostly Muslim, away from its constitutionally mandated secularism.

The case was part of a broader struggle between the party, whose members are observant Muslims, and the secular elite, which includes the military and judicial systems.

The party has largely defended Turkey’s secular system of government, but the indictment accused it of trying to impose Islam.

“This ruling doesn’t mean that the party has been cleared of charges,” said Mithat Sancar, a law professor of Ankara University. “Cutting the party’s treasury funds means that the evidence for their anti-secular activity was there but not substantial enough to impose a ban. Therefore they warned the party to be careful in their actions to avoid closure in the future.”

The indictment charged that because of Erdogan, Turkey is now seen as a “moderate Islamic republic,” an image that it said had become the official view in the United States.

It cited former Secretary of State Colin Powell as “having defined our country” that way, “disregarding the fact that Turkey is a secular democratic state.”

Erdogan, the indictment said, had bragged that he was co-chairman of the “Middle East Initiative,” which it called “a U.S. project aimed at installing moderate Islamic regimes in countries.”

One thought on “Turkey's governing party avoids ban”

  1. If they’re going to become an Islamic theocracy, I hope they hurry up so that they can be excluded from the E.U. for the inevitable human rights issues that will inevitably follow.

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