Turkey PM denies planning new party

Legal moves are being made to ban the country's ruling party for being anti-secular.

    Tayyip Erdogan's government was re-elected last July [Reuters]

    The broadcaster said he disclosed the information to a group of journalists at a dinner on Saturday evening.
     
    False statements
     
    The statement from Erdogan's office read: "The stories do not reflect the exact truth in terms of the contents of the conversation, the nature of the invitation and the list of invitees.
     
    "In particular, some untrue statements attributed to our prime minister regarding an ongoing court case and its possible outcome are viewed as being far from well-intentioned."
     
    The prime minister was quoted in Vatan newspaper as saying the Turkish economy could not cope with an extended court process, so the case would be completed in July.
     
    It also quoted him as saying he did not expect the court to actually shut the party down and that he would not seek constitutional changes to avert the closure.
     
    Last week, the AK party submitted its preliminary defence in the case.
     
    Previous bans
     
    The AK party, which won re-election last July, rejects charges that its members were engaged in anti-secular activities and says the case is politically motivated.
     
    The Islamist-rooted government is at odds with the secular establishment, including the powerful military and judiciary, over Islam's role in secular but predominantly Muslim Turkey.
     
    Within the indictment, the prosecutor points to the role of Erdogan and other leading AK party figures in previous parties closed for anti-secular activities.
     
    Turkey has banned a number of political parties in the past for alleged Islamist or Kurdish separatist activities.
     
    Many commentators expect the AK party to suffer the same fate.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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