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Thursday, July 31, 2008
By Steven L. Taylor

Yesterday, I noted that Turkey’s ruling AKP1 had been spared from banning by the country’s highest court, but that the court had also ruled to cut it’s funding. As was noted in the comment section of the post, such a cut is potentially quite serious.

The CSM referred to the ruling as a suspension of funding (but says nothing else about that aspect of the decision):

a majority also voted to suspend public funding for the party

Eurasianet.org stated that half of the party’s state funding was removed. The Economist noted:

By stopping short but cutting off some public money, the judges have instead sent a signal to Mr Erdogan and yet avoided a huge confrontation.

A different Economist story has more details:

This is expected to be the loss of half of AK’s state funding, which amounted to 47m Turkish lira ($40m) last year.

The only full explanation of the implications of the funding issue can be found the NYT’s write-up about the ruling:

There appear to be no practical implications for the party aside from the cut in financing, which is expected to be made up from other sources in the party’s vast middle- and upper-class network of supporters.

As such, the cut in funding would appear to amount to a substantial fine more than a crippling blow to the operating budget of the party and, if this is an accurate explanation, mean that there will be no diminution in the party’s ability to mount electoral campaigns in the future. 2

Beyond the AKP itself, the Reuters write-up on the ruling underscores what was at stake in terms of the Turkish economy Turkish AK Party court victory is double-edged sword:

The verdict against banning a democratically elected party rescued Turkey from political chaos, which would have likely brought a halt to European Union membership talks. A closure would also have hit vital reforms and economic growth.

The turmoil had already wiped several billion dollars off the value of the Istanbul stock exchange and hurt foreign direct investment in Turkey’s $700 billion economy.

(Reuters did not comment on the funding question.)

Also in regards to economic effects, the WSJ noted:

Investors cheered the ruling. After the verdict, the local currency climbed to a four-month high, and some bank shares enjoyed a double-digit lift. The decision “has avoided a calamity,” said Chris Scicluna, an economist at Daiwa in London.

As well as:

The court judgment could also give a boost to Turkey’s long-stalled efforts to join the European Union. Olli Rehn, the EU official handling Turkey’s membership bid to the largely Christian bloc, warned in a speech early this summer that the banning of political parties isn’t in line with European norms. He described Turkey’s political tensions as a battle between “extreme” secularists and “Muslim democrats, many of whom are reformed post-Islamists.”

  1. The Justice and Development Party []
  2. As such, I feel less bad about my flippancy from yesterday. []
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One Response to “More on the AKP Ruling”

  1. More on the AKP Ruling in Turkey Says:

    [...] Here’s a follow-up which focuses mostly on the funding cut imposed by the court. [...]


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