Turkey's Erdogan says party closure case will increase his support
(dpa) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday was defiant in the face of court proceedings to have his party closed down, saying that the moves would only lead to an increase in popularity for his Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Anadolu news agency reported.
"Our votes will increase. We are in charge. No one can take us off our path," Erdogan said after a meeting with colleagues in Ankara.
Erdogan's statements came after newspapers on Monday speculated that the AKP may attempt to force through constitutional changes that would make it very difficult for the Constitutional Court to close down the party.
The party has a clear majority in parliament but would need the support of an extreme right-wing opposition party in order to get constitutional changes passed.
Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya on Friday night lodged an indictment against the AKP seeking to have the party banned on the basis that it was a focal point for anti-secular activities.
The range of activities listed in the indictment that Yalcinkaya argued were proof that the AKP sought to undermine the secular state included moves to allow women to wear Islamic-style headscarves at universities, attempts to restrict public drinking of alcohol to "red light zones" and appointments to public sector positions seemingly based on the religious convictions of the applicants.
The indictment also seeks to have Erdogan, President Abdullah Gul and 69 other AKP figures, from ministers to local council mayors, banned from politics for five years..