|The Constitutional Court ended the first day of deliberations on the merits of the closure case against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) at 10:00 p.m. (0700 GMT) on Monday. In the first session the court rejected a demand of a Turkish lawyer to recuse four members, including the court chairman and the deputy. The court will reconvene on Tuesday. (UPDATED)
The first day of court deliberations continued for nearly 13 hours. The Constitutional Court will convene again at 9:30 a.m. (0630 GMT).
Turkey's politicians, the European Union and foreign investors are awaiting a verdict in the case which has drawn Turkey into a period of political uncertainty and has harmed financial markets.
"We don't accept inculcation from anybody," Turkey's top prosecutor announced on Monday in response to speculation they had met with suspects arrested in the Ergenekon investigation.
In the Ergenekon investigation nearly one hundred people, including anti-AKP politicians, journalists and intellectuals, are accused of being members of an illegal organization believed to be planning provoking events that would pave the way for a military coup to overthrow the ruling government. A number of the accused are still being held in custody pending trial.
Many questions whether the operation is being used to suppress opponents of the ruling party.
Lawyer Mustafa Kemal Turan, appointed by Turkish citizen, Omer Ozgur Korkmaz, applied to the constitutional court ahead of the court's session demanding the recuse of four court members, chairman Hasim Kilic, and deputy Osman Paksut, and court members Serruh Kaleli and Necmi Ozler, claiming they are biased towards the case.
The Turkish Constitutional Court can find the ruling AKP not guilty and dismiss the case, or convict it and either fine or ban the party and some of its leaders, in which case the government will fall and early parliamentary elections be called, possibly in November.
The court can also rule to deprive the ruling AKP of financial assistance from the Treasury instead of its dissolution.
Under the constitution, a qualified majority of votes is required to disband a political party which means at least seven out of 11 members of the court need to vote in favor of the closure of the party.
The country's top prosecutor, Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya, demanded in March a five-year ban on 71 party officials, including Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, as well as the closure of the ruling AKP that he accused of being engaged in a systematic effort to impose Islam on Turkey.
Earlier, court rapporteur, Osman Can advocated in his non-binding report that the court should reject the closure case.
The court board will come together every day until they reach a decision.
The European Commission (EC) should see both the verdict and the reason of the closure case, Amadeu Altafaj Tardio, the spokesman of the commission, said on Monday.
It was not a right thing to comment on the possible impact of the case on Turkey-European Union (EU) full membership negotiations before the case was concluded, Tardio told his regular daily press briefing.
Tardio said every one had to respect the court, adding it was important to act in accordance with the principle of separation of forces.