Turkey court convicts Erdogan's AKP
rahul | October 24, 2008 at 11:12 amby
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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's AK party has been convicted of anti-secular activities amid fears of new political tensions in the country. Turkey's constitutional court announced on Friday a decision to fine the premier's Justice and Development Party (AKP), marking the first time a sitting prime minister has been blamed by the court for breaching secular principles in the predominantly Muslim country.
In a close vote in July the court - the highest judicial body in Turkey - decided to fine the Islamic AKP for exploiting religion, but refused to have it shut down or have the party's leaders, including Erdogan, barred from politics. "It was found that the head of the party Recep Tayyip Erdogan, member of the party and former parliament speaker Bulent Arinc, Education Minister Huseyin Celik...were involved in determined and intense activities which were against article 68 of the constitution," the court announced. In a 370-page legal explanation, the court labeled Erdogan and other senior members of the AKP with attempts to lift a ban on wearing headscarf at university and efforts to lower the age at which students can attend Qur'an classes. It also mentioned a number of Erdogan past statements where he said "religion is the cement of Turkish society" and an interview to a Malaysian newspaper in which he described Turkey as a "modern Islamic state." Erdogan is blamed for efforts to create "an unlimited freedom for political Islam" and an attempt to transform and restructure the state within the framework of the rules of a certain religion. The court, however, said it voted against outlawing the AKP, highlighting the group's avoidance of violence and its reformist efforts towards EU membership, including giving more rights to minorities and to women. Erdogan is expected to try to cool off criticisms by reshuffling his cabinet which would leave out some of the incumbent members. The premier's AKP comes under attack in spite of its sweeping victory in a re-election last year. MRS/MMN Original source at PressTV
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