Court Could Outlaw Turkey's 'Islamist Government'

Explosive trial could bar ruling party, prez and prime minister
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2008 3:35 AM CDT
FILE - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accompanied by his wife, greets his party supporters during a party meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, in this Sunday, Feb. 24, 2008 file photo.   (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta, File)
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(Newser) – Turkey's top court has agreed to hear a case that could outlaw the nation's ruling party and bar its president and prime minister from politics, Reuters reports. The AK Party is accused of trying to undermine Turkey's secular constitution and establish an Iran-style Islamic state. The case pits Turkey's popularly elected government against the country's secular elite, including army generals.

The court case is expected to last for months and destabilize Turkey. One expert forecast "a chaotic political and economic outlook" for Turkey, with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said to be ready for "all-out war" with the establishment rather than submit to a ban. European Union officials have warned that banning the party could hurt Turkey's bid to join the EU.