Turkey court hears AKP case

Chief prosecutor appears before judges to argue for banning ruling party.

    Prosecutors are seeking to ban Erdogan,
    right, from party politics [AFP]

    After Thursday's hearing, a court-appointed rapporteur will prepare a non-binding report on what verdict the judges should give.

    The court will then set a date to debate the case behind closed doors and reach a decision.

    Name change option

    Yalcinkaya launched the proceedings in March, arguing that the AKP had become a "focal point" of anti-secular activities aimed at installing an Islamist regime in Turkey.

    He also asked the court to bar 71 AKP officials, including Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, and Abdullah Gul, the president, from party politics for five years, in line with Turkish law.

    Hoda Abdel-Hamid, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Ankara, Turkey's capital, said that if Erdogan is banned and the AKP is forced to shut down, the ruling party could in fact change its name and have a new leader, but with Erdogan pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

    Many analysts have added that in the time between the hearings and the verdict - which could be months - Erdogan could call for general elections with the AKP  changing its name and re-presenting itself.

    According to one opinion poll, the majority of Turks do not favour banning the AKP.

    The poll, published in the Milliyet newspaper on Monday, found that 53.3 per cent of those surveyed opposed a ban with 34.3 per cent in favour.

    It also showed that the AKP is still the most popular party in the country despite the court proceedings.

    The AKP won the last elections in July 2007 with 47 per cent of the vote and the next poll would not normally be due until 2011.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.