The Turkish Justice and Development Party (Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi; AKP) is the current ruling party in Turkey led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The party was founded in 2001 by a number of politicians from Islamist political parties which were banned for violating Turkey’s secular order, proclaiming themselves as practicing “conservative democracy” and rejecting the Islamist label. The party narrowly survived an attempt to close it via the courts for violating Turkey’s secularism laws for its lifting of a ban on headscarves at universities. Following this, the AKP passed constitutional amendments weakening the independence of the military and judiciary, both of which had threatened the AKP in defense of secularism. The AKP has close ties with the Global Muslim Brotherhood and operates abroad with representative offices in Europe, notably in Belgium, and has announced intent to open them in other western countries.