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EU parliament head slams possible court ban of Turkish ruling party

[JURIST] European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering [official website] Thursday slammed a bid by Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya [official profile, in Turkish] to have the country's ruling Islamic Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish] legally dissolved [JURIST news archive] for not respecting Turkey's strict secular principles. Poettering said it would be "absurd" for the Constitutional Court of Turkey [official website, in Turkish] to close the party as it had come to power through democratic means. On Wednesday, EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn [official website] called for the Turkey to respect democratic principles [Turkish Daily News report] in what was considered a message of support for the government. Rehn has previously warned [JURIST report] that the closure of the AKP could have could be serious ramifications for Turkey's bid to join the European Union [JURIST news archive]. MSNBC has more.

In March, Yalcinkaya petitioned the court to disband the AKP and bar Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul [BBC profiles] from political office. The AKP filed a response [IPS report] to the dissolution petition last week, arguing that shutting down the party would leave a political void and endanger Turkey's democracy.

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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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