ANKARA - Turkish Daily News
The closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, was concluded more quickly than previous cases against two of Turkey's now-defunct Islamic parties.
The Constitutional Court, which decided to take up the case against the AKP on March 31, made its decision on the case July 30, only about four-and-a-half months after the chief prosecutor applied to the top court for the closure of the AKP on March 14.
�The working schedule of the top court on the case has never been determined by pressure from outside,� said Constitutional Court President Haşim Kılıç late Wednesday while announcing the court's decision on the case.
�We couldn't ignore the fact that the case should be finalized as soon as possible considering its social, economic and political significance. We are too living in this country,� he noted.
The AKP's predecessors -- the Welfare Party, or RP, and the Virtue Party, or FP -- were likewise charged with being the focal point of anti-secular activity and faced closure cases. The Constitutional Court, however, made its verdict on the closure of the RP within eight months while it finalized the legal procedures on the closure of the FP within 22 months. The RP was banned by the court in 1998 and the FP in 2001.
Decision comes after 31 hours of work
The top court also announced its verdict on the closure of the RP eight days after the final sessions started, while it made public its decision on the closure of the FP following an 11-day deliberation. The court announced its historic verdict on the closure of the AKP after only 31 hours of deliberation.
The process regarding the closure case of the AKP kicked off when Abdurrahman Yalçınkaya, chief public prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals, filed a complaint against the AKP and petitioned March 14 for the Constitutional Court to close the party down. He argued, �The party has become a focus of anti-secular activities.� He also requested a ban from politics of 71 politicians, current and former members of the AKP, including Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül.
The top court decided to take up the case against the AKP on March 31.
On June 5, the Constitutional Court annulled the AKP-sponsored constitutional amendments that lifted the headscarf ban in state universities. Yalçınkaya presented his verbal argument on the closure case July 1, reiterating his allegations on disbanding the ruling party on charges of installing an Islamist regime. On July 3, the AKP made its verbal statement and said the party's statements were never translated into action and should thus be protected under freedom of expression.
Court Rapporteur Osman Can recommended July 16 that the judges not ban the party, while the top court decided July 22 to discuss the final verdict July 28.
The 11 judges of the top court, who gathered July 28 for final deliberations on the closure case against the AKP, announced their verdict July 30, after three days of deliberations.