Turkish Court Urged Not To Ban AKP

The rapporteur for the Constitutional Court of Turkey is recommending against any issuance of a decision which would ban political activities of the Justice and Development Party(AKP). Rapporteur, Osman Can, argued that charges of anti-secular activity fall under freedom of expression and cannot be grounds for closure. He reminded the Turkish high court that in Western democracies only committing acts of violence can be considered the basis for closing down a political party.

He also pointed out to Constitutional Court Justices that according to the Venice Commission criteria which are guidelines in Europe for banning a political party, the AKP had a Parliament constitutional amendment passed which lifted the ban on wearing a headscarf in universities and that amendment was declared null and void by the Constitutional Court. Therefore, the Constitutional Court has already dealt with the issue.

The rapporteur argued in light of the above the Court can not ban top officials of the AKP from participating in political life or running for political office. A decision is expected by
August.

Hopefully, the AKP can remain a vibrant political party and learn from this episode the importance of consulting more closely with the opposition and working with them to resolve delicate issues in a spirit of collegiality.

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