Turkish public prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya filed an application with the Turkish Constitutional Court on Friday, 13 March, demanding the closure of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). He also called for 71 high-ranking members of the AKP, including President Gül and Prime Minister Erdogan, to be banned from political activity for five years. Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier issued the following statement in Jerusalem today (17 March):
"I have taken note of the application for the closure of the AKP, the Turkish ruling party, with total incomprehension.
Under the leadership of President Gül and Prime Minister Erdogan, the AKP has shown that it is committed to the principles of democracy and the rule of law.
The AKP was entrusted with the reins of government by an overwhelming majority of the Turkish people in free, fair and democratic elections in July 2007.
Placing my faith in the independence of the Turkish Constitutional Court, I assume that the application will be dismissed with all due speed.
It is now important that, notwithstanding the proceedings, the government provides the necessary political stability in the country and adheres to its chosen path of reform. It is vital that Turkey resolutely continues its encouraging economic and pro-EU course."