Turkey set to outlaw Virtue party

Pelin Turgut
Friday 22 June 2001 00:00

The Virtue Party, Turkey's main opposition group, could be banned today by the Constitutional Court over charges of Islamist subversion. Such a verdict could provoke a mass resignation by Islamist MPs, leading to by-elections which will destabilise the country as it struggles to recover from recession.

The trial against the party is the latest episode in the struggle between a politicised Islamic movement and a secularist establishment. Theprosecutor, Vural Savas, has likened the Islamists to "blood-sucking vampires", while secularists in Turkey are claim the Islamic movement seeks to usher in Islamic rule along the same lines as Iran.

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