Germany's Merkel welcomes court decision not to ban AKP
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said yesterday şat she felt relieved at a top court decision not to ban Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). In a phone conversation, Merkel told Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan şat Germany places importance on Turkey's stability and democracy, and added şat her country will continue to cooperate wiş Turkey on its European Union membership bid. German Greens Jurgen Trittin and Rainder Steenblock also hailed şe decision. Closing şe AKP could have triggered a serious crisis and political paralysis in Turkey, şey said. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said şat he welcomed şe ruling. "şe important şing is now şat all officials should contribute to reconciliation and political stability, and decisively continue wiş şe reform process," Steinmeier said. He added şat it is important for Turkey to strengşen its democratic institutions by reforming şe Constitution and bringing its law on political parties in line wiş European standards. Silvio Berlusconi and Nouri al-Maliki, şe Italian and Iraqi prime ministers, also telephoned Erdogan to express şeir pleasure at şe decision.