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The case against AKP

Anayasa Mahkemesi, Turkey's constitutional court
Anayasa Mahkemesi, Turkey's constitutional court
In an interview with Referans on 29 March, Yalcinkaya gave the impression that he would not have filed the indictment had the AKP backed off from its attempt to lift the headscarf ban, describing his January warning as sincere."

Yalcinkaya based the indictment on Article 69 of the Constitution, which states in paragraph 6:

The permanent dissolution of a political party shall be decided when it is established that the statute and programme of the political party violate the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Article 68.

Article 68 paragraph 4.4. notes:

The statutes and programmes, as well as the activities of political parties shall not be in conflict with the independence of the state, its indivisible integrity with its territory and nation, human rights, the principles of equality and rule of law, sovereignty of the nation, the principles of the democratic and secular republic; they shall not aim to protect or establish class or group dictatorship or dictatorship of any kind, nor shall they incite citizens to crime.

The indictment acknowledges that the AKP's program and its written statutes are not unconstitutional (page 27). However, it writes that the AKP has "in actions and verbal statements acted against laws and the Constitution."(page 27)

The 162-page indictment recommends that the AKP be shut down as it has become "a focal point for anti-secular activities" and has acted against the constitution. Article 2 of the constitution, an article that cannot be amended, mandates that Turkey is a secular state. In the introduction the goals of the AKP are described as follows:

"The AKP is founded by a group that drew lessons from the closure of earlier Islamic parties' and uses democracy to reach its goal, which is installing Shariah in Turkey."

"Party leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and other party members targeted the Republic and its revolutions in their criticisms, and argued that 'sovereignty did not belong to people but to God, secularism would be cast aside if people desire to do so, secularism was anti-religionist,' during their membership in parties before 2001."

The principle of secularism, which the AKP is accused of threatening, is also described in the indictment:

"In a secular order, the state is impartial towards religions which does not mean that religious freedoms are unlimited. The state may make arrangements and introduce restrictions in this area for protecting rights and freedoms."

"Turkey's implementation of the principle of secularism is different than certain Western countries."

The accusation of anti-secular activity is backed up by an extensive collection of statements purported to be anti-secular. These include "anti-secular statements" by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister and AKP leader (from pg 27):

"Turkey, as a modern Muslim country, can be an example to the harmony of the civilizations."

"It would be wrong to bring together Islam and secularism as concepts. Because individuals cannot be secular. Some perceive secularism like a religion. If secularism is a religion, then a person cannot be a Muslim at the same time. Because a person cannot follow two religions at the same time. By definition, secularism is a system; states and not the individuals can be secular. Belonging to a certain religion is an individual choice."

"As a human being I am not secular; the state is secular. In response to that I am obliged to protect the secular order." (page 30)

Supposedly anti-secular statements from Abdullah Gul (from p. 65) are also quoted:

"We are committed to freedom of expression and belief: everyone should be permitted to live according to his beliefs. All individuals must feel safe from fears and anxieties. They must freely express whatever they think and believe and live according to whatever they believe in. It is our mission to eliminate terror and torture and to strengthen freedoms of expression and beliefs."

"You cannot defend restrictions on the rights of the majority when you discuss the religious rights and freedoms for the minorities in Turkey. But these are our own problems. I believe that we will solve our own problems by ourselves. Of course this would require a course of time. No one should be proud of prohibitions. No one would be honoured by defending and taking pride in prohibitions. We will settle this problem when an appropriate time comes by our own initiative… Our government is determined to eliminate all prohibitions."

There is also a long list of allegedly anti-secular activities and publications by the AKP, including:

  • The attempt to lift the headscarf ban in universities.
  • The publication, by the AKP mayor of Eyup (Istanbul), of "Our beloved Prophet Muhammed" in 2006, a book which included the phrase "not to cover (hair) means to be sinful." Ten thousand copies were printed. (page 104)
  • A booklet for newly-wed couples, issued by the AKP mayor of Tuzla municipality, which includes the suggestion that husbands can beat wives if they do not obey.(page 104)
  • The Denizli city council's decision to change the name of a street given to a person who was killed for telling a pupil not to be late because of praying. (page 105)

The Public Prosecutor concludes that the AKP has:

  • "revealed its intention to constitute the environment in which basic principles of the Republic of Turkey will be changed by the actions mentioned above and especially by their proposals for a constitutional amendment and changes on the Law on Higher Education [abolishing ban on headscarves at universities]
  • ignored the fact that religious symbols cannot be used in secular systems
  • been determined to transform the secular Republic into a new life system and a new state order and begun to divide the society into those who are religious and those who are not
  • attempted to change gradually the secular, judicial structure and to give it a new shape
  • opened the discussion the future of the regime and the Republic to debate."

"It is a fact that the AKP will use material power to change the secular order because it exercises the government power today and this danger is not far off. This is a fact when we consider that they will adopt Shariah by enabling the society to evolve towards an Islamic structure through what they call "consensus processes" by exploiting religion and the sacred values and through jihad aiming at transforming the state into Shariah."

"The AKP would use jihad as required by Shariah if and when it fails to achieve the regime for which it aims. In other words, the use of jihad, i.e. violence is probable."

"The threat posed by the policies of the AKP is clear and present. Concrete steps have been taken that may harm the civilized peace and the democratic regime in the country."

"In this context, there is no other possibility than closing the party as the only sanction applicable and also required by the society in order to protect the society from this danger and to prevent [the AKP] from reaching its objective."

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