Foreign Policy Blogs

Turkey's Constitutional Court Decision on the AKP

Six members of the Turkish Constitutional Court have voted to close down the AKP (the ruling Justice and Development Party). However, four others voted only to deprive the party of half of its government financial assistance. Closure of a political party requires seven votes. The court chairman, according to one news report, said that the cut in financial assistance was a warning. It is not entirely clear what such a warning will mean to the party. The case was brought against AKP in March "on claims that it became the focal point of anti-secular activities." Other news reports question the procedure of bringing such cases before the court and that changes should be "made before opening of closure cases." Turkey's Prime Minister has said that the AKP is committed to the secular system. The AKP entered the political scene on August 14, 2001 and won 46.6% of the vote in the July 2007 elections. If AKP had been banned, the current government would have been removed from power , forcing elections. The poignant element of the debate over whether Erdogan and the AKP are "Islamizing" the country is that it unfortunately focuses so much on the question of hejab and women's clothing. Would that really "Islamize" the country? The New York Times reminds readers that Turkey's chances of gaining membership in the EU would have been hurt if the court closed the party, and the BBC reports that Turkey's Labor Minister has said the court's decision was "a victory for Turkish democracy." Roger Hardy, for the BBC, has also written an analytical news piece about the second court case, which has been "deepening the rift between secularists and a government with Islamist roots." The article discusses Ergenekon, the ultra-nationalist group that has been indicted on allegations that it was planning to overthrow the Turkish government.



Karin Esposito

Karin Esposito is blogging on religion and politics from her base in Central Asia. Currently, she is the Project Manager for the Tajikistan Dialogue Project in Dushanbe. The Project is run through the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies with the support of PDIV of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The aim of the project is to establish practical mechanisms for co-existence and peaceful conflict resolution between Islamic and secular representatives in Tajikistan. After receiving a Juris Doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 2007, she worked in Tajikistan for the Bureau of Human Rights and later as a Visting Professor of Politics and Law at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics, and Strategic Research (KIMEP). Ms. Esposito also holds a Master's in Contemporary Iranian Politics (2007) from the School of International Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Iran and a Master's in International Relations (2003) from the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (GIIDS) in Switzerland.

Areas of Focus:
Islam; Christianity; Secularism;