ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The fate of the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, will be decided within days, as the top court began deliberating yesterday about whether to close down the party on charges of being a focal point of anti-secular activity.
The closed-door session of 11 judges started at 9:35 a.m. at the Constitutional Court, where heavy security measures were taken after the deadly blast in Istanbul that killed 17 people late Sunday. It is uncertain when the court will conclude deliberations and announce the verdict, for which Turkish politicians, the European Union, and foreign and local investors are waiting.
A European Commission spokesperson refused to comment yesterday on how the possible disbandment of the AKP would affect Turkey-EU ties. “It would not be a good approach to express an idea about its possible influence,” Amadeu Altafaj Tardio said during a press conference in Brussels, the Anatolia news agency reported. “We have to analyze the verdict. Of course, we are not only going to look at the verdict but its reasoning as well,” Tardio noted.
The French term presidency intends to seek a concerted reaction from the 27 countries of the EU. Diplomats have been negotiating a draft for some time. It is planned to be a balanced statement, diplomats said. The EU would not close its eyes to the party closure, but would at the same time try to avoid a possible suspension of the ongoing negotiations, they added.
According to the Turkish Constitution, disbanding a political party requires the votes of at least seven judges. In the case of disbandment, the judges will also decide whether to bar 71 high-level AKP officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül. But the court can also dismiss the case or impose a fine instead of shutting the party down.
If the court bans the party, the government would dissolve and the remaining AKP deputies would become independent MPs, allowed to form a new party or join an existing one. The most likely scenario would then be an early parliamentary election.
Request of recusation rejected
Meanwhile, the court members yesterday rejected an application of recusation for four judges of the court. Lawyer Mustafa Kemal Turan applied to court early Monday to ask for the disqualification of President Haşim Kılıç, his aide Osman Paksüt and two other members of the court. But the court announced that the application was rejected, as the applicant had no authority to ask for the disqualification of a judge.