Turkish AK Party to give defence in 10 days

AK Party will present its second defence within 10 days in a court case brought by a prosecutor seeking its closure for anti-secular activities.

Turkish AK Party to give defence in 10 days

Turkey's ruling AK Party will present its second defence within 10 days in a court case brought by a prosecutor seeking its closure for anti-secular activities, a senior AK Party source was reported as saying.

Turkish financial markets are closely watching the case, fearing months of political instability could hurt the economy.

AK Party source as aying the party did not want to drag the legal process out.

"The broad lines of our defence are ready and, if desired, we could hand it in on Monday. But we will present our answer to the court within one week to 10 days after considering the (prosecutor's) opinion," the source said.

The comments could not be immediately confirmed.

The case moved forward on Friday when the prosecutor behind the case presented his response to the party's initial defence. The party has up to a month to make its second defence.

Newspapers said the prosecutor repeated the charge that the AK Party, which has its roots in political Islam, sought to introduce sharia, Islamic law, in Turkey and said its initial defence constituted an attack on the judiciary.

The party rejects the charges and says the case is politically motivated.

The party and the judiciary became involved in heated exchanges this month, with the judiciary accusing it of seeking to influence the court process.

The Constitutional Court agreed in March to hear the case, which aims to ban Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul from belonging to a political party for five years.

If closed down, AK Party members are expected to form a new party, while banned members, including Erdogan, could run for office as independents.

The Constitutional Court is set to hear on June 5 a case brought by opposition parties challenging a government move to lift a ban on the use of the Muslim headscarf at universities.

The two cases are closely linked as the headscarf reform was seen as the catalyst for the closure case, the indictment for which is packed with references to the headscarf.

Reuters

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Haziran 2008, 11:35
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