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    Turkey's AKP seeks alternatives in the closure case

    Hurriyet English with wires
    18.05.2008 - 17:46 | Son Güncelleme:

    Turkey's ruling AKP will formulate its alternative plans in the closure case this summer, after it previously withdrew plans for a constitutional amendment to make it more difficult to close political parties, news agencies reported on Sunday.

    In case the Constitutional Court decides not to close the AKP, MPs from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) will work on local elections during the summer holiday period, the ANKA News Agency reported.

    Turkey's chief prosecutor filed a closure case against the Islamist-rooted AKP, claiming the ruling party had become the "focal point of anti-secular activities." The prosecutor also demanded 71 officials, including Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul, to be banned from politics for five years. 

    The AKP submitted on April 30 its preliminary defense in the closure case to the Constitutional Court. In its defense the ruling party rejected the claims made by the prosecutor in the indictment.

    If the Court closes the party down, then the works on creating a new political party will be implemented, ANKA added.

    If Erdogan and a large number of MPs are banned, a new parliamentary election is most likely. The MPs, including Erdogan, would then run as independent candidates and, once elected, would create a new party under another name, sources told Reuters.

    Some legal experts say Erdogan may be able to become prime minister under the new party. If Erdogan is not legally able to become the leader of the new party, a new party leader will be determined by the party’s MPs.

    "We'd be in danger because we currently don't really have a strong number two to run it," Reuters quoted a senior AKP member.

    In any case, AKP MPs plan to travel around Turkey to explain the claims of the prosecutor in the indictment and the party's defense in detail to Turkish people, the agency added. The indictment and the party's defense will also be distributed to the party’s branch offices.

    The AKP was divided on its strategy in the closure case. Initially it was reported the ruling party had planned to amend the constitution and take it to a referendum, but later withdrew these plans as the move would likely increase polarization and further raise political tensions.  

    Photo: AA

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