Wednesday, July 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Turkey’s ruling party escapes ban

Turkey’s Constitutional Court has decided not to ban the ruling AK Party, accused of undermining the country’s secular system.

But the judges did cut half the AKP’s treasury funding for this year.

That’ll show ‘em!1

In all seriousness, this is a healthy result for Turkish democratic development as well as a positive move for all who would like to see a functional example of democracy in an Islamic society.

Still, the overall situation is not at healthy as one might like:

At least seven of the 11 court judges would need to vote in favour for the party to be banned. But six judges wanted a ban and five did not want to do so.

Being one vote shy of being banned is escaping by the thinnest of margins.

  1. I honestly have no idea which funds or what they are used for–and the story does not elaborate. []
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4 Responses to “AKP Escapes Ban (Barely)”

  • el
  • pt
    1. MSS Says:

      Steven, you seriously (and much too flippantly) underplay the significance of a cut in public funding. The public treasury is, in modern democracies, typically the principal way in which political parties are funded. That is, modern democracies tend to have reached an agreement that parties should be funded by the society they (seek to) represent, and not primarily (or at least not exclusively) by private donors seeking favors.

      So, while I do not pretend to know what the consequences might be for Turkish democracy overall, a big cut in public funding is a pretty significant fine. Probably the next worse thing to a ban. Actually, given that a party this large would always be able to re-constitute itself after a ban (as indeed has happened to this very party more than once), perhaps this is even more punishment than an outright ban would be.

    2. Dr. Steven Taylor Says:

      Quite fair–and I was hoping that my footnote and the “In all seriousness” transition indicated that I was simply being flippant. It was more a reaction to the way it was presented in the story (just thrown in, it seemed to me) and came across as “you aren’t banned, but your allowance has been cut.”

      I was actually planning on figuring out what the cut was, and what it meant, and getting back to the topic.

      And while I take the point on banning/reforming, I have to think that given that the AKP holds the PMship and the Presidency, that the consequences of a ban at this juncture would have been far more problematic than the previous ban.

      Ultimately it will depend on exactly how much the funds were cut and what they are used for.

    3. MSS Says:

      Yes, it depends on what the funds are used for. I assume (based on the typical European models that Turkey has been gradually adopting in recent years, not specific knowledge of Turkish law) that they are used for most basic party operations, including campaign expenditures. To expand on my previous point, most democracies that have public funding for parties also have strict rules about private fundraising. So it is not as if the money is easily replaceable. And any changes that the AK might try to make to the campaign and party laws would have to get through the very same Constitutional Court.

      So, while a ban on the ruling party clearly would have thrown the country into a grave constitutional crisis, stripping the party of a huge chunk of the money it uses for operations is quite a severe penalty.

    4. PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts » More on the AKP Ruling Says:

      [...] I noted that Turkey’s ruling AKP1 had been spared from banning by the country’s highest court, [...]

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