EP rapporteur hails Turkey reforms, urges consensus

The European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten welcomed constitutional amendments designed by Turkish government

EP rapporteur hails Turkey reforms, urges consensus

The European Parliament's Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten welcomed constitutional amendments designed by Turkish government and called for consensus on reforms.

Turkish State Minister and Chief Eu Negotiator Egemen Bagis met with representatives of several political parties in the European Parliament and Turkey Rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten on Wednesday.

Following the meeting, Oomen-Ruijten said she welcomed government's reforms, but she added that content of amendments should be debated by all political parties in Turkey.

Oomen-Ruijten said constitutional reforms would definitely have effects on relations between Turkey and the European Union. However, she said the government and the opposition should have consensus on reforms, adding that Turkey must make such reforms if it was to be "modern" country.

Earlier in the day, Turkish government said it would submit the reform package to the parliament before the end of March.

Turkish State Minister & Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said Wednesday that the government would put constitutional amendments on referendum if consensus with opposition parties can not be achieved.

On his part, Egemen Bagis said that it was time for Turkey to have a constitution in line with EU standards.

"There is no country that could have become an EU member with a military constitution," Bagis told reporters.

"Our draft is open to all discussions and opinions. We hope that opposition parties would design their own constitutional amendments. We are ready to hear their views and reach a consensus," he said.

Government's bill to amend the constitution aims to bring the right to collective bargaining for civil servants and the other public workers and tie closure of political parties to permission of a parliamentary committee, which is currently only under the authority of the Constitutional Court.

The government bill to amend the constitution aims to abolish the provisional article 15 of the constitution which prevents trial of generals who led the coup on September 12, 1980. The bill also aims to enable trial of military personnel at civilian courts on charges of crimes they commit against security of the state and the constitutional order.

The bill increases the number of members of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, also bringing arrangements to allow the parliament to elect members to the court.

The bill also paves the way for appeals to the decisions of the Supreme Military Council (YAS) at courts, which are currently outside of judiciary supervision.

Constitutional amendments in Turkey need a two-thirds majority --367 votes-- of the parliament, which requires the government to receive support from opposition parties to pass the reform.

Votes from the Justice and Development (AK) Party's 337 deputies may put the planned reform on referendum as any constitutional amendment receiving more than 330 votes but less than 367 need to be submitted to popular vote. However, government's amendments to constitution are severely criticized by the opposition.


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Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Mart 2010, 16:02

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