Court Aborts Turkish Gov't Move to Delay Verdict on Virtue Party
With just hours to go before the Turkish Constitutional Court's session in the trial expected to see the senior opposition and Islamist Virtue Party (VP) dissolved, Deputy Prime Minister Husamettin Ozkan of the senior coalition Democratic Left Party (DSP) has reportedly made a surprise maneuver to delay the verdict, according to the Turkish Daily News on Thursday.
The paper said Ozkan first held a "secret" meeting with Chief Justice Mustafa Bumin after which he spoke with VP leader Recai Kutan and suggested he apply for a postponement of verdict.
But according to AFP, the Constitutional Court undermined the last-ditch effort by the pro-Islamic Virtue Party to escape a possible ban when it rejected the proposed plea to put the imminent verdict on hold.
Virtue argued that Parliament was preparing constitutional amendments that would make banning parties more difficult.
The agency said that Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit supported the move because he feared that outlawing Virtue would spark political instability at a time when his embattled government is fighting a severe economic crisis.
The paper said that Ozkan's stepping into the fray just as the verdict in the trial to dissolve the VP was about to be announced was being interpreted within the DSP circles as a move to help "preserve stability.”
DSP circles say that Ozkan would not act independently or without the knowledge and approval Ecevit and point out, "This move could have been made so as not to upset both economic stability and political stability with a forced early general election."
The court, however, found no legal grounds for the request, said AFP.
"The court decided unanimously that the reasons cited ... were not of a nature to require the postponement of the case hearings," the deputy head of the constitutional court, Hasim Kilic, told reporters.
"The court will continue to review the case," he added.
The critical verdict is expected by the weekend – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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