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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

April 2, 2008

Hot Turkey leaves EU cold

Filed under Life in Europe

Turkey’s constitutional court has decided to accept the request by the country’s attorney general to open proceedings on whether to ban Turkish prime minister Erdogan’s party from politics. A stalemate possibly lasting months will be the result.

Monday’s ruling by the 11 judges of Turkey’s highest constitutional court was a surprise unanimous decision. The Turkish court system is generally considered to be Kemalist, favoring the status quo of separation between religion and the state. The Turkish military is also Kemalist and has intervened in the past to support the Kemalist doctrine. Prime minister Erdogan is charged with having a secret agenda to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. If the court agrees to ban his "Justice and Development Party" [AKP], Erdogan would be banned from all political activity for 5 years. The EU Commission criticized Monday’s decision, saying that Turkish courts should not overrule a democratically elected government. Erdogan’s party has a commanding majority in the Turkish parliament, a result of having 47 percent of the popular vote in last summer’s general election. The court action will likely delay Turkey’s progress on meeting requirements for EU membership. For more background, read my article on the Turkish attorney general’s request to ban Erdogan’s party.

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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