EU Regrets Turkey’s Banning of Welfare Party

LONDON (Reuters)–The European Union expressed its dismay on Tuesday at Turkey’s banning of the Islam-based Welfare Party (Refah).

"The European Union notes with regret the decision of the Turkish Constitutional Court…to order the closure of the Welfare Party–to confiscate its property and to ban certain present and former members of that party from being members of the Turkish parliament or from further political activity for five years," the European Union Presidency–said in a statement.

"The European Union is concerned at the implications for democratic pluralism and freedom of expression and hopes that Turkey will make clear its continuing commitment to these fundamental democratic principles," said the presidency–currently held by Britain.

Turkey’s constitutional court closed the Welfare Party on Friday and barred its leader Necmettin Erbakan from politics for five years for violating the secularist principles of the constitution.

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