New Islamic Party to Planned in Turkey
The former leader of Turkey's banned pro-Islamic Virtue Party, Recai Kutan, announced Tuesday that a new political entity intended to unite the Islamic movement in Turkish politics was being set up as swiftly as possible, said AFP.
"The name and the leaders, who will be democratically elected, of our new party will be decided as soon as possible," Recai Kutan told a press conference at Parliament.
The founding members are to be made up of the Virtue Party's hundred deputies, former deputies and intellectuals, Kutan indicated.
Turkey's constitutional court outlawed the pro-Islamic party for anti-secular activities on Friday, but expelled only two of its 102 deputies from Parliament in a move that appeared aimed at avoiding political turmoil.
Amid a power struggle between reformists and conservatives, Kutan appealed for unity, warning that division would weaken the Islamist movement.
Although it remains unclear who will lead the new party, the two key figures in contention are Tayyip Erdogan, a former mayor of Istanbul, and former Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan, said the agency.
Erdogan, leader of the modernist wing, previously indicated that he was prepared to form a new party.
Erdogan received a four-month prison sentence in 1999 for religious and racial provocation. He is banned from political life but his lawyers are contesting the ban.
Erbakan, a pioneer of Islamist politics in Turkey, was banned from politics for five years in 1998 after the closure of his Prosperity Party. He has since been involved in negotiations with Kutan to unite the movement.
According to a recent poll by a Turkish newspaper, 74 percent of Islamist voters would suppport a party led by Erdogan, as opposed to 14 percent for Erbakan.
Meanwhile, a new Turkish political party, called the Radical Change Project Party (RADEP), was officially launched on Monday, reported the Turkish Daily Naews.
Founder and leader Nijat Fikri Ulusoy introduced his party at a press conference at which he said he had sent a petition to the interior ministry, asking permission to form the party on May 16.
He added that the party had actually started out on the internet as a forum by which to produce and exchange ideas.
Ulusoy spoke of the need to take new people to the right places; people who thought about finding lasting solutions to Turkey's problems and averting new crises.
"Turkish society is fed up with the current situation. What is needed is not to sit and witness the game, but to take part in it," he said.
Ulusoy stated that the party's funding mechanism would be totally transparent, which he claimed would be a first for the world – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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