On Friday, prosecutors had began proceedings to ban the DTP, saying that the party had become a "base for activities which aim at the independence of the state and its indivisible unity" through its links with the PKK.

  

The DTP, which holds 20 seats in Turkey's 550-member parliament, rejects charges of links to the PKK.

 

However, it has come under fire for refusing the brand the PKK as a terrorist group and for voicing sympathy for the party.

  

Last month, the Turkish government won parliamentary authorisation to order troops into northern Iraq in case of a PKK offensive.

  

Turkey has subsequently massed an estimated 100,000 troops and large amounts of military equipment on the border with Iraq.

 

The United States and Iraq are opposed to any cross-border strike.

 

More than 37,000 people have been killed since 1984 when the PKK began its fight for autonomy in Turkey's mainly Kurdish east and southeast.