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Cablegate: Turkey's Ruling Party Fined but Not Closed By

VZCZCXRO9653
OO RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAK #1373 2121649
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 301649Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY ANKARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7006
INFO RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHIT/AMCONSUL ISTANBUL 4541
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
RUEUITH/ODC ANKARA TU

UNCLAS ANKARA 001373

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S RULING PARTY FINED BUT NOT CLOSED BY
CONSTITUTIONAL COURT

REF: A. ANKARA 1342
B. ANKARA 1310

1. (U) In a six to five vote, Turkey's Constitutional Court
decided July 30 not to close the ruling Justice and
Development Party (AKP), ending weeks of uncertainty and
speculation about Turkey's political future. While six
judges voted for closure, the constitution requires that at
least seven judges vote in favor of banning for a party to be
closed. Four justices voted to withhold state funds, and one
judge supported neither closure nor a fine. Falling short of
a closure vote, the 11-member Court agreed instead to halve
AKP's state funding, worth approximately $58 million - a mild
penalty for a party with AKP's resources.

2. (U) Under this ruling, President Gul will continue in
office and PM Erdogan and his government will remain in
place. None of the 71 AKP members at risk of being banned,
including Erdogan, Gul and five ministers, will be banned.
Chief Justice Kilic stated it is "out of the question" any
party members would be banned, given the decision not to
close the party. Kilic said the Court will issue a detailed
verdict soon. The ruling takes effect once the Court's legal
reasoning is published in the Official Gazette.

3. (U) The Court's decision comes in record time; previous
closure cases have required at least two weeks of
deliberations. Kilic noted the judges agreed the case should
be finalized as quickly as possible, adding they had reviewed
the case carefully, with full awareness of its significance.
The outcome short of closure will send a cautionary message
to AKP members without prolonging the uncertainty that has
preoccupied the country since the case was filed in March.
In announcing the verdict, Chief Justice Kilic said he hopes
AKP will "draw the necessary lessons" from the decision,
which he called a serious warning to the party. He appealed
to political leaders to implement constitutional and legal
reforms to bring Turkey's political party laws into
conformance with Western standards, adding that such measures
should have been taken sooner. Kilic urged all sectors to
reduce the tension that has gripped the country.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Turk ey

WILSON

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