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Voice of America, 98-01-17

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>


CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / POLITICS (S&L) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

  • [01] TURKEY / POLITICS (S&L) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=1/17/98
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-225427
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: AN OFFICIAL OF TURKEY'S BANNED ISLAMIST WELFARE PARTY SAYS IT WILL REGROUP AS THE MAIN PARLIAMENTARY FORCE UNDER A DIFFERENT NAME AND LEADER. AS AMBERIN ZAMAN REPORTS FROM ANKARA, LUTFU ESENGUN, A LAWMAKER FROM THE NOW DEFUNCT WELFARE PARTY, CLAIMS THE NEW PARTY WOULD FULLY CONFORM WITH TURKISH LAW.

    TEXT: THE ANNOUNCEMENT COMES ONE DAY AFTER THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT CLOSED DOWN THE ISLAMIST WELFARE PARTY, THE LARGEST IN TURKEY. AT THE SAME TIME ITS LEADER, NECMETTIN ERBAKAN, WAS BANNED FROM POLITICS FOR FIVE YEARS.

    MR. ERBAKAN TOLD SUPPORTERS SATURDAY AT WELFARE HEADQUARTERS IN ANKARA THAT DESPITE THE BAN THE ISLAMIST MOVEMENT IN TURKEY WOULD GROW EVEN STRONGER. HE DESCRIBED THE CLOSURE AS AN IRRELEVANCE IN THE FLOW OF HISTORY. IN ANTICIPATION OF THE BAN WELFARE OFFICIALS HAD ALREADY FORMED A NEW PARTY, CALLED VIRTUE. BUT IT NEEDS OFFICIAL APPROVAL BEFORE IT CAN BECOME ACTIVE.

    TURKEY'S CHIEF PROSECUTOR DECLARED SATURDAY THAT HE WOULD CRUSH ANY ATTEMPT TO REPLACE THE BANNED ISLAMIST PARTY. VURAL SAVAS SAID THAT THOSE WHO USED RELIGION FOR POLITICAL PROPAGANDA PURPOSES BROUGHT GREAT HARM TO ISLAM. REST OPT// IT IS A VIEW SHARED BY TURKEY'S POWERFUL ARMED FORCES WHO HAVE BEEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ISLAMISTS.

    THE MAJORITY OF TURKS, WHO REMAIN FAITHFUL TO THE SECULAR PRINCIPLES LAID DOWN BY THE FATHER OR MODERN TURKEY, KEMAL ATATURK, BELIEVE THE ISLAMISTS' REAL GOAL IS TO USE DEMOCRACY TO COME TO POWER AND THEN ESTABLISH AN ISLAMIC STYLE STATE.

    ANALYSTS SAY IT IS TOO EARLY TO SAY WHAT IMPACT THE BAN WILL HAVE ON THE ISLAMIST MOVEMENT. ACCORDING TO RECENT OPINION POLLS, THE ISLAMISTS STILL NARROWLY LEAD IN POPULARITY. BUT OBSERVERS POINT OUT THAT THE MOVEMENT HAS BEEN WEAKENED BY INTERNAL FEUDING AS VARIOUS MEMBERS JOIN THE RACE FOR PARTY LEADERSHIP. (SIGNED)
    NEB/AZ/DW/KL
    17-Jan-98 11:39 AM EST (1639 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America


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