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Turkish PM facing prosecutor probe over court comments: report

[JURIST] Turkey's Office of the General Prosecutor is investigating Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan [BBC profile] for possible legal violations after he allegedly criticized the country's Constitutional Court [official website] following a controversial ruling earlier this week, CNN Turk [media website, in Turkish] reported Friday. At the instance of lawyer Sedat Vural, Erdogan is facing potential charges of attempting “to spread fear and panic among the population”, “humiliate state judicial bodies” and “incite breach of laws”. On Wednesday the Court voided a parliamentary vote [JURIST report] in support of Erdogan's presidential candidate, Islamist-leaning Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul [official website], because a quorum of legislators did not participate; Erdogan characterized the ruling as a "bullet aimed at democracy" and urged constitutional amendments [JURIST report] that would allow the president to be elected by a popular vote.

The court issued a statement of its own Wednesday characterizing as "irresponsible" comments by both Erdogan and Deniz Baykal, leader of the secular opposition Republican People's Party [Wikipedia backgrounder], which had challenged the parliamentary vote in court. Erdogan later insisted that his remark had been aimed at Baykal, not the court. Prosecutory investigations of political figures in Turkey are often taken up and then dropped. Reuters has more. PanArmenian.net has additional coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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