Thwarting Democracy over Headscarves: The Move to Ban Turkey’s Ruling Party

Posted on March 17, 2008

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 Al-Jazeera

A state prosecutor has asked Turkey’s highest court to shutdown the ruling AK Party for allegedly undermining secularism.

Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, the court of appeals chief prosecutor, as quoted by Turkish television as saying he wanted senior party members, including the president and prime minister, banned from politics for five years.

Yalcinkaya said a government move to lift a ban on women students wearing the Muslim headscarf at universities amounted to an anti-secular action.

Turkey, which is seeking European Union membership, is predominantly Muslim but has a strictly secular constitution.

The constitutional court has yet to say whether it will agree to hear the complaint, which charges that the AKP or Justice and Development Party has become a focal point for attempts to undermine separation of state and religion.

“With a political party with this much of a majority in parliament, we must think what Turkey will win and what it will lose from a demand like this,” Abdullah Gul, Turkey’s president, said in Dakar, Senegal.

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