Turkey's ruling party denies plans to scrap secularism

Turkey's Islamic-rooted ruling party has denied it has plans to change the nation's secular constitution into a religious one.

The statement from senior party officials on Tuesday came a day after parliamentary speaker Ismail Kahraman said majority-Muslim Turkey should have a religious constitution. His comments have led to fears that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's party — which is drafting a new constitution — plans to scrap Turkey's secular system.

Mustafa Sentop, who heads the parliament's constitutional committee, said the party has no plans to "discuss removing the principle of secularism."

Senior party official Naci Bostanci confirmed there was no such agenda.

Critics accuse the ruling party, in power since 2002, of chipping away at Turkey's secular traditions.

The current constitution is a legacy of Turkey's 1980 military coup.