Turkey court limits Erdogan’s power over military trials

The news is a fresh blow to the Turkish president, whose ruling AK party lost its majority in a poll earlier this month

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The constitutional court in the Turkish capital Ankara on Thursday limited the presidency’s powers over an upcoming series of military trials, in a fresh blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose ruling AK party lost its majority in a poll earlier this month.

According to the top court’s latest ruling, the Council of State will give the final decision on the suspension from the profession of commanders tried by the Supreme Court, rather than the president, Turkish paper Hurriyet reported.

The ruling came after an appeal by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) to an amended article inscribed in military law. The top court then cancelled the amendment, which gave the president the final say in such cases, by 10 to 6 votes on Jan. 14.

After the AK Party lost its parliamentary majority earlier this month, the prospect of coalition politics – considered by many Turks an unwelcome conclusion – looms.

Erdogan is expected to formally ask Prime Minister and AKP leader Ahmet Davutoglu next week to try to form a coalition. If Davutoglu fails, Erdogan could then ask the second-biggest party, the Republican People's Party (CHP), to try to establish a working government.

If no government can be formed, a snap election is likely to be held. Pollsters said on Wednesday that Turks would be unlikely to change their vote.

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