07/28/2008, 00.00
TURKEY

In the wake of deadly attacks Turkey waits anxiously for Court’s decision on the AKP

The Constitutional Court begins today to examine request to dissolve ruling party, accused of planning to introduce Sharia. There is concern for the fact that the deliberations are taking place at the same time as top spots in armed forces must be replaced.
Ankara (AsiaNews) – Tensions are running high in Turkey today after yesterday’s terror attacks as the whole country waits for the Constitutional Court to rule whether the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is to be dissolved and 71 of its leaders banned from politics, including President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The request was made by Turkey’s top prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, who argued that the AKP wants to impose the Sharia, which is a clear and present danger.

The AKP and its top leaders have rejected the allegations that they seek to undermine the secular nature of the state.

The Court, which has already overturned a law that lifted a ban on wearing the Islamic veil in university, is expected to rule next month.

No one can say what the outcome will be; however, many have highlighted the fact that dissolution requires seven judges out of 11.

The court rapporteur Osman Can advocated in a non-binding report that the court should reject the closure request.

Complicating matters is the fact that terror attacks and the start of legal procedures before the Constitutional Court are taking place at a special time.

Some suggest that the charges against the AKP are but the latest action by the ‘deep state’, a term used to describe the bureaucracy and the army which claim to be heirs and guarantors of Kemalist secularism against the ruling moderate Islamist party.

On the other hand, the AKP has responded with a probe into the Ergenekon network, an organisation similar to Gladio, the clandestine NATO ‘stay-behind’ unit, and the arrest of retired gendarmerie chief, General Şener Eruygur and retired former head of the 1st Army, General Hurşit Tolon, who are accused of preparing since 2004 a coup d’État.

The start of August, when the Court should issue its ruling, is also when the leaders of the armed forces will be appointed, in particular, the new joint chief of staff.

General İlker Başbuğ, commander of the Turkish Army, is expected to replace the current Chief of the General Staff, General Yaşar Büyükanıt.

But what will happen if Erdoğan is prevented from doing so and his party dissolved?

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