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Monday, March 24, 2008

Turkish politician charged over alleged involvement with secular extremist group
Michael Sung at 9:37 AM ET

[JURIST] Turkish authorities Monday charged Turkish Workers' Party [party website, in Turkish] leader Dogu Perincek [personal website, in Turkish] for his alleged involvement with a secular extremist group suspected of plotting to overthrow the ruling government headed by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) [party website, in Turkish]. Percincek, a staunch Turkish nationalist who was convicted [JURIST report] last March by a Swiss court for denying that the mass killing of 1.5 million Armenians [ANI backgrounder] constituted genocide, was charged along with several other suspects, including a former military official and a lawyer. AP has more.

The AKP, which emerged in 2001 from a banned Islamist party, holds the offices of the prime minister and president, and dominates the 550-seat parliament with 340 lawmakers. The Constitutional Court of Turkey is currently deciding whether to consider a bid [JURIST report] by Turkish Chief Prosecutor Abdurrahman Yalcinkaya [official profile, in Turkish] to disband the AKP for violating constitutional obligations to keep the government secular. On Monday, an AKP official said that the party expects to introduce constitutional changes [Reuters report] in parliament this week that would prevent the party from being dissolved.

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