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Rafael Navarro-Valls
Catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado
Universidad Complutense

Javier Martínez-Torrón
Catedrático de Derecho Eclesiástico del Estado
Universidad Complutense


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The AK Party, secularism and the court: Turkish politics in perspective. (RI §406964)  

- Ihsan Dagi

Not only the ruling AK Party that received 47 % votes in July 2007 elections but also Turkish democracy faced a judicial threat from March to July 2008 when the chief public prosecutor opened a case in the constitutional court for the closure of the AK Party on the ground that it had become the center of anti-secular activities. The court decided eventually not to close down the AK Party, relieving Turkey from an unprecedented level of political uncertainty, social and economic turmoil, and potential chaos. Instead, it chose to keep the ruling party under close scrutiny by declaring it “a focal point of anti-secular activities,” and imposing financial measures. Leaving the closure case behind the ruling AK Party is expected to be more restrained, and to act responsibly as demonstrated during the proceedings of the case, while building up its democratic and secular credentials through a reform policy in keeping with the EU accession process. The verdict may also have some ramifications on the opposition to the AK Party. It highlights the limits of the Constitutional Court to be a focal point of opposition against the AK Party. Having lost their hope that the AK Party could be toppled by the court or by pressure from the military, the opposition parties, especially the CHP, may be forced now to develop more down-to-earth policies instead of relaying on a mere secularist discourse against the AK Party within the political sphere.

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