Turkey’s parliament on Sunday begins the final round of voting on constitutional changes that strike at the heart of the secular elite with plans to reform the judiciary and make the army accountable to civilian courts.
Proposed constitutional changes in EU-candidate Turkey are stirring tensions between the ruling Islamist-leaning AK Party and a secular elite, with some analysts predicting the dispute could lead to early elections.
The final debate on the government-led package of constitutional reforms begins Sunday as Parliament meets to vote again on the 27 proposed amendments before issuing a verdict on the full reform. Most opposition deputies continue their protest by not participating, criticizing the secret vote and accusing the Parliament speaker of taking sides
The fourth indictment disclosed yesterday in connection with the Ergenekon investigation is the shortest — only 184 pages — of the indictment prepared under the investigation and targeting the least people, with only seven defendants.
Despite a lack of support from opposition parties, one of the most critical articles of the government?s package of amendments to the Constitution, a remnant of the Sept. 12, 1980 coup period, was passed in Parliament.
Turkey’s Prime Minister is a survivor. A devout Muslim and tough-talking former soccer player, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 56, rose to prominence in 1994 as mayor of Istanbul ? a city on whose streets he once sold buns to make ends meet. He was stripped of office and imprisoned when he fell afoul of Turkey’s secularist courts but re-emerged even more popular than before. Erdogan saw three political parties banned for Islamism ? although mainly Muslim, modern Turkey is strictly secular ? and took note, founding his Justice and Development Party on a pro-West, probusiness platform in 2001.
Twenty-seven hand grenades seized in a shanty house in İstanbul?s Ümraniye district in June 2007 pried open an unprecedented process for Turkey.
Turkey’s Chief of Staff General Ilker Basbug (first row R) and Land Forces Commander General Isik Kosaner (first row L) wait for the start of a briefing as they are flanked by officials during the Anatolian Eagle military exercise in central Anatolian city Konya April 28, 2010.? Read more » REUTERS/Umit Bektas
It seems that by the end of the month Parliament will finish voting on the first round of the constitutional amendment package. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is shouldering the amendment process on its own.
With the new developments surrounding the Supreme Court of Appeals, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is said to be applying to the Constitutional Court for the retrial of its closure case. If I were they, I would not try it now.
Since none of the main opposition political parties in Parliament, the Republican People?s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), have pledged to support the ruling Justice and Development Party?s (AK Party) constitutional reform package, the government is now alone in its campaign to save Turkey from the anti-democratic articles in Turkey?s current Constitution, which was written following the 1980 military coup.
?Dear deputies, let us share the honor of getting rid of the black stain on Turkey?s law and Constitution. Let us be realistic: We will either be able to put some 90-or-so-year-old ex-generals before the courts or leave their fate to divine justice. But we are doing something: Turkey?s elected legislative body today, for the first time, says, ?Yes, coup perpetrators can be subjected to trial and interrogated?.?
from Turkish Politics in Action by Ragan Updegraff
In the past two weeks following Hurriyet columnist Yilmaz Ozdil’s seeming praise of the April 12 attack on Ahmet Turk, a lively debate emerged in the Turkish press about the value of a new law regulating hate speech in the Turkish press (for a short summary, see Today’s Zaman columnist Fatma Disli Zibak). Some opinion leaders argue that Article 215 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which criminalizes speech that “incites hatred and hostility amongst the public” is simply not enough. For instance, Today’s Zaman columnist Yavuz Baydar argues that