Re: Greek monks and the curse on Moudros, Limnos!

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Posted by Elizabeth on July 28, 2001 at 04:18:11:

In Reply to: Re: Greek monks and the curse on Moudros, Limnos! posted by Nikos on July 27, 2001 at 19:33:19:

Here's an interesting June 23rd story out of Turkey. This is the kind of thing that produces religious extremists:

Turkey bans pro-Islamic party

By Louis Meixler

ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey's top court yesterday banned the pro-Islamic Virtue Party, the main opposition party, in a verdict that threatens the stability of a government already struggling to overcome an economic crisis.

The move is also likely to be a setback for Turkey's push to join the European Union, which is demanding more democratic reforms.

The Constitutional Court voted 8-3 to close Virtue on the grounds that it was a focal point for anti-secular activities. Turkey is a staunchly secular state, and Virtue is the latest in a series of pro-Islamic parties to be shut down.

The verdict is "a blow to Turkey's search for democracy and law," Virtue leader Recai Kutan told party lawmakers at what probably was one of their last meetings. "Let nobody be deceived. In Turkey, in its present state, there is no democracy."

Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said he was saddened by the decision.

"Let's not inflate this. It must not be allowed to shake Turkey's stability," said Ecevit, who had called for a postponement of the court's decision.

The ruling came as the government is struggling to implement reforms after a February crisis that led to a 50 percent fall in the lira against the dollar. Thousands of firms have folded, and about 500,000 Turks have lost their jobs.

The government's economic recovery program, backed with $15.7 billion in loans pledged by the International Monetary Fund, has led to price increases and has strained relations between members of the three-party governing coalition.

The court also expelled two of Virtue's deputies in parliament, leaving the party's 100 remaining lawmakers to decide whether to form a new party, join other parties or remain independent.

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