World Bulletin / News Desk
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, speaking at his party's extended meeting for the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) provincial chairmen on Tuesday, has said the AK Party has been re-examining a controversial closure case from 2008 in which the ruling party was found guilty of having become a center for anti-secular activities. During his speech on Tuesday, Erdoğan said: “Please examine the reasons why the political parties that we were involved in [referring to the now-defunct Welfare Party (RP)] were closed down. Also examine the closure case opened against the AK Party in 2008. We are also examining it now. You cannot find any weapon, violence or unlawful initiative in those cases. What you can only find is newspaper clippings that were prepared in the chain of command. The only thing we cannot find in the case is the law. We were exposed to unlawfulness during that period. The AK Party is not leaning toward the status quo and is not a party whose power and authority originate from certain power groups. It is a party that has reached these days by believing in God and the nation's will.”
“I've instructed my colleagues, [and] they have been working [on the issue],” Prime Minister Erdoğan said on his way to Turkmenistan last week. “We will do what is necessary after the detailed verdict [of the Ergenekon court case is announced],” he added.
The ruling of the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, which in the Ergenekon case recently convicted leading military figures, including a former chief of General Staff, Gen. İlker Başbuğ, for having tried to topple the AK Party, has paved the way for the government to argue its innocence in the case in which it was found guilty five years ago. The party was subsequently fined and saw a number of its members banned from politics. The AK Party is planning to apply to the Constitutional Court for a retrial in the controversial closure case.
Regarding the issue, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç told reporters on Tuesday that the 2008 closure case needs to be re-examined, adding: “However, we have not yet discussed it in a Cabinet meeting. Maybe this issue should be discussed in the Central Executive Board [MYK] that will convene on Tuesday. Maybe the other place where this issue should be discussed is the Central Decision and Administration Board [MKYK] that will convene on Thursday. The MKYK can discuss this issue, which has to be discussed.”
In March 2008, Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, then-chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, submitted an indictment to the Constitutional Court demanding that the AK Party be closed down on the grounds that it had become a focal point for anti-secular activities. The indictment also sought a political ban of five years for 71 party members, including Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, who was also an AK Party member at the time. The Constitutional Court ruled against the closure of the ruling party, although six of the 11 judges voted in favor of closure.Güncelleme Tarihi: 21 Ağustos 2013, 11:30