ANKARA – Turkish Daily News
The top court continued yesterday in its third day of deliberations over whether to disband the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.
The judges worked overtime for 12 hours Monday and Tuesday, and they were still deliberating late Wednesday when the Turkish Daily News went to print. There is speculation that the court will come up with a verdict by the end of the week, most likely late Friday after the markets are closed.
The court could ban the AKP and its 71 high-level officials, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül, or could dismiss the case. Another option would be for the court to give a strong warning to the ruling party and cut its Treasury aid but not shut it down.
Daily Vatan argued in its publication yesterday that only six of the 11 judges would vote in favor of closing the AKP, which is less than the minimum seven required for a closure verdict. But former president of the Constitutional Court, Yekta Güngör Özden, said there was no tradition among the judges of signaling one's vote. �The votes of the judges will only be known after the conclusion of the deliberations,� he stated, in an interview with private NTV channel.
However, political analysts say the Constitutional Court is likely to ban the party after it overturned a government-led move to allow students to wear the Muslim headscarf at universities last month. The headscarf reform was seen as a catalyst for the case.
Waiting for the verdict like the rest of the country, AKP members preferred to remain silent on both the case and post-closure strategies. Gül and Erdoğan held a secret tete-a-tete meeting late Sunday night, only 12 hours before the court resumed its deliberations. The content of the meeting is still unknown, but many speculate that the two discussed how to shape post-closure strategies.
The meeting also caused severe criticism by opposition parties, arguing that a meeting between the prime minister and the president outside the presidential compound hurts the neutrality of the head of state.
�No meeting in a private places fits with the state rules,� Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, deputy leader of the Republican People's Party, or CHP, told reporters yesterday. He also said the party would take this issue to Parliament.