Thursday, April 03, 2008

A threat of turmoil in Turkey

Considering a ban on the ruling party

TURKEY edged towards prolonged political and economic turmoil on Monday March 31st after the country's most senior court unanimously agreed to consider a case calling for the banning of the ruling Justice and Development (AK) party and for the prime minister to be barred from office.

The decision by the Constitutional Court could lead to a dangerous escalation in tensions between the AK party, with its roots in Islam, and its secular detractors in the army and the judiciary, who accuse the party of leading the country towards sharia rule.

In a 162-page indictment AK is accused of becoming “a centre for anti-secular activities” and the prosecutor calls for 71 of the party’s officials, including the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to be banned from politics for five years. The court, which is dominated by secular judges, voted without exception to consider the case. A majority of the judges also agreed to hear similar charges against the president, Abdullah Gul.

Read the full story on The Economist

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