Turkey's ruling AK Party will hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss how to respond to a top court's ruling to overturn a government-led reform to lift a ban on Muslim headscarves at university.
Analysts said the ruling on Thursday by the Constitutional Court, the highest judicial body in Turkey, was the most serious setback for the AK Party since it came to power in 2002 and posed a serious threat to its survival.
Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan will chair the AK Party meeting, starting at 1200 GMT, his office said.
The now-defeated headscarf amendment plays a central role in a separate case that seeks to close the AK Party for allegedly anti-secular activities, and ban 71 members, including the prime minister and the president, from belonging to a political party for five years.
The Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the closure case brought by the Court of Appeals chief prosecutor in the coming months.
Analysts expect the AK Party to be banned, although some say the court could instead decide to punish the party's leaders given that forming a new political party, were the AK Party to be banned, would be easy under Turkish electoral law.
"This verdict will affect the closure case negatively," wrote Mustafa Unal, a columnist for daily Zaman.
Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek dismissed the connection between the cases, saying "let's not compare apples with pears".
The political uncertainty has hit lira and bonds.
Analysts fear that as the AK Party, born of a coalition of former Islamists, centre-right politicians and nationalists, fights for survival, reforms will be put on hold.
"(The ruling) is not a surprise to me because I know that in Turkey not only the official ideology, but also the judiciary is illiberal," wrote columnist Taha Akyol in newspaper Milliyet.
The government has won praise for securing European Union-accession talks status in 2005 and pushing through political and economic reforms.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 06 Haziran 2008, 12:43