An editorial in The New York Times
Published: August 3, 2008
Had it gone the other way,
The margin by which these multiple catastrophes were averted could scarcely have been narrower. A majority of six of the 11 justices voted to ban the party. Fortunately, a super-majority of seven was required. Still, the party had half of its public financing cut for the next election and was warned to steer away from policies the court considered too Islamic, like allowing women in head scarves to attend universities.
Those aspects of the ruling provided some consolation to
Turkey has progressed a very long way from the not very long ago days when the secular establishment and its powerful military and judicial allies felt little inhibition about staging overt and covert coups of every variety against elected governments that did not do their political bidding. The last such event was in 1997.
Since then, the lure of European Union membership, shifts in the Turkish electorate and the generally responsible behavior of the Justice and Development Party in power have brought a healthy change in attitudes, as seen in the votes of the five justices who blocked the ban. Continued restraint by the ruling party can help widen democracy’s still perilously thin safety margin.
Source: NewYork Times, NewYork