Turkish Tensions Rise Between Courts And Government

The escalating tensions between Turkey’s courts and the government continued to escalate as both sdies refused to back down in the constitutional confrontation which may well tear the nation apart. Last week, the Supreme Court of Appeals accused the government of attempting to influence the judiciary which immediately elicited an angry response from the government. The Constitutional Court will rule next month if the government led by Prime Minister Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party(AKP) have violated the secular foundations of the country by pushing for laws that impose Muslim ideas such as allowing women to wear the headscarf at universities.

A major problem is creating even worse feelings is that President Gul is a member of the AKP and may well be challenged by the June court decision which could order that leaders of the AKP are barred from serving in any government position. Ahmet Abakay, president of the Contemporary Journalists Association, notes, “as long as the government and its members do not respect the judiciary’s indepdnence, and consders itself above it, tensons wll remain and there will be more battles.” There are reports some members of the Constitutional Court feel they are being stalked by the police.

Some critics point out the contradictory attitude of the government which allowed demonstrations by soccer clubs in city squares but refused it to unions and the resulting conflict left many workers injured or arrested. At some point, calmer heads in the government must recognize there is need to reassure secular Turks it has no plan to impose Muslim Sharia law on the nation.

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