Barred Turk ‘Islamist’ Appeals to European Court

STRASBOURG (Reuters)–The head of Turkey’s most popular party has challenged at the European Court of Human Rights his barring from the next parliament on a conviction for ‘Islamist’ sedition–which dashed his hopes of becoming premier.

The court said on Monday it informed Turkey of the petition by Erdogan–whose Justice and Development Party is suspected by the military of having Islamist leanings.

In opinion polls for a November 3 election–it is the only party regularly to score above the 10 percent threshold for entering parliament.

The popular former Istanbul mayor contended in a petition to the court that his barring on Friday violated an article of the European convention of human rights guaranteeing free elections–a court spokesman’said.

However–with such rulings by the European court often taking several months–it was unclear whether a court decision would be made in time for the election.

The spokesman did not say whether a move by the court to accelerate its normal procedures was likely in this case.

Erdogan has insisted he will lead his party to victory in the polls despite his barring from parliament on a 1998 sedition conviction for which he served nearly four months in jail.

The ban by the High Electoral Board crushed his hopes of being Turkey’s next prime minister and added further to the uncertainty clouding polls widely seen as the most important of modern times for European Union candidate Turkey.


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