ANKARA, Turkey, March 23 (UPI) -- Turkish sentiment was mixed regarding proposed changes to the national constitution that would make it harder to ban political parties from the government.
The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, proposed a series of constitutional amendments Monday that would put restrictions on the ability to ban certain parties from politics while making it easier to haul military leaders into civilian courts.
Ankara is wary of potential plots by military officials to overthrow the government. A move to settle simmering issues with the Kurdish minority, meanwhile, was upended when a court in December banned the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party, or DTP, from politics.
The measure sparked controversy among rival factions in the Turkish government, English-language daily newspaper Hurriyet reports.
Deniz Baykal, who leads the Republican People's Party, said the move showed weakness on the part of the AKP.
"This initiative shows how the AKP's fears have been reflected on the constitutional amendment," he said. "It is unacceptable."
Ayla Akat with the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, however, said the move was a welcome development.
"We are attaching importance to amending the constitution," she said.
Members of the banned DTP were called on to join BDP on the advice of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party.
Ankara is reviewing reforms as it jockeys for membership to the European Union.