Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 17:10 UK

Turkish ruling party trial: Readers react

AKP supporter
The AKP has condemned the case as an assault on democracy
Turkey's chief prosecutor has put the country's governing party - the AKP - on trial, calling for it to be closed down.

The party, founded by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won a landslide victory in the last election, but its critics say it is trying to impose Sharia law on the secular state.

Here readers from Turkey react to the trial and debate whether they support or oppose the prosecutor's case.


I don't think the AKP is a threat to Turkey's secular values. The AKP is the future of Turkey.
Mucahit Buz, Bursa

The ruling AKP has been trying to integrate Turkey with the world. But some circles of the old elite are against EU reforms and any measures to modernise the country. They don't understand how a moderate government can be endorsed by the modern world. They don't want to lose their privileges. They are using secularism as a mask. They not only want to close down the AK Party, they also want to close the country to the outside world, like North Korea.
Tamer Yalcin, Istanbul

While I agree that any move towards Sharia law is a regressive step, you cannot go around banning legitimate political parties. The AKP won the vast majority of the votes and therefore has a mandate to govern. If I have any criticism, it is of the way they drum up support among poorer sections of society. Food, clothing and fuel should not be used as bribes to garner support.
Memhet Hardal, Istanbul

Any claim that the AKP is a threat to secular values is a big lie. The problem is that the ruling bureaucratic oligarchy does not like to leave the power and sovereignty to the nation.
Yusuf Tok, Istanbul

I disagree with the view that the AKP is solely responsible for the erosion of secular values. Unfortunately there is a social desire for religion to be involved in politics here due to the poverty among over 50% of Turks, especially in the rural areas. The government will never be able to make any radical changes with the military and judiciary in power.
Oli, Istanbul

I think the AKP represents democracy and secular structure in Turkey. As everybody know this party took 43% of the vote in the last election and most of the citizens regard the AKP as the most modern and open-minded party in Turkey. However, there is a very powerful authority here - which is the military and its supporters. Since the Republic of Turkey was established, there have been many military coups, which proves that Turkey cannot be a completely democratic country with this military power in place because it prevents an open-minded and independent government.
Erdogan Sahin, Istanbul

As a Muslim woman in a so-called secular country, I feel oppressed by the West's control over those trying to oust the government that has overwhelmingly been voted for by the people, the AKP. I feel very, very oppressed in today's Turkey due to its secular clans who are dying to come into the EU. Most Turks are Muslim and voted for the AKP. Then again, I know this is an attack on Islamic values by Western countries.
Hana Muhammad, Ankara

I don't think this party threatens anything in Turkey but a dominant class which benefited from the previous state before the AK party came to power, and is trying to slander and bring it down. This time they won't win and the republic is going to remain a republic.
Ali, Istanbul


I regard AKP as a great threat to Turkish democracy and it should be banned. Turkey has been threatened by three important issues since the World War I: Sharia, Kurds and the so-called Armenian genocide. Being tied up to Ataturk principles is the sole solution to save the country, which is well-known by our western friends (enemies) and their information agencies.
Zafer Tuten, Istanbul

The AKP is the biggest threat to secular Turkey. The AKP needs to be not only shut down, but their members must be punished for betraying the Turkish people. They have tried to implement a fascist regime in Turkey. People are taken from their homes without being formerly accused of anything. This is not democracy.
Ahmet Sen, Istanbul

The AKP is definitely a threat to secularism in Turkey. They are supported in this by the USA and the EU. The sole reason behind this is the power struggle in the Middle East. The West wants to deal with Iran and wants to make sure Turkey supports this without questioning so the AKP is their mate.
Batur Kucukaltan, Istanbul

The AKP should be closed down, not only for being Islamist but also because of its fascist attitude towards its opponents.
Nihat Mala, Istanbul

I believe the AKP is a clear threat to the modern way of life in Turkey. Even though they keep talking about democracy and personal freedom, they keep arresting opposition journalists, writers and academics. One example is Ergun Poyraz, who wrote a book about the prime minister. He is in jail for over a year under the Ergenekon investigation and there are still no charges against him. This is just one example and there are many prominent figures who oppose the AK party currently in jail. Yesterday they arrested 24 more people. This clearly shows their real beliefs about democracy and freedom of speech. They are clearly an Islamo-fascist party, hiding their real intentions.
Efe Cataltepe, Istanbul

The AKP is an extension of the Refah Party which was closed down because of being at the centre of anti-secular activities. The AKP claim that they have changed and they promised that they are loyal to the secular state. In the last election the public rewarded them with 47% of the vote. But after all this, the AKP revealed their secret agenda. They tried to lift the headscarf ban, which has a symbolic significance for secularism. No-one in Turkey has any doubt anymore that this party has a secret agenda - because it's not secret anymore. The democratic establishment is doing the right thing and they'll make the best decision for secular and democratic Turkey.
Deniz Turkpence, Samsun

The AKP is not only a threat to the secularity of Turkey but also a threat to its existence as an independent country. The AKP and its supporters in the religious orders are trying to make Turkey a colony of western capitalism. That's why they are quarrelling with secularity and generally with the idea of enlightenment.
Emre Taner, Istanbul

The AKP has been a threat to our secular system since they were elected by a huge majority of Turks. They'll never change their ideas, so the constitutional court is doing the right thing. I hope this issue will be resolved soon and the arguments over.
Arkan, Amisos

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