Saturday, February 23, 2008

Foundations Law Well-Received by EU

EU Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn described recent passage of amendments to the Foundations Law as a welcome step forward toward Turkey's accession into the European Union. Rehn noted that it will be important for Turkey to implement the new law in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

The final article of the law was passed on Wednesday over the opposition of MHP and CHP. Article 68 moves to restore property rights to fixed property held by non-Muslim foundations. These rights were annulled by the Constitutional Court in 1974 following increased animosity toward Greece in the aftermath of the Cyprus crisis.

Despite EU applause at the amendments, especially as they seem to indicate that the government is once again picking up its EU-inspired reform agenda and moving with it, the amendments' shortcomings and the many areas of the Foundations Law that are not addressed will continue to be subject to criticism. Meanwhile, opposition parties have vowed to challenge it at the Constitutional Court. President Gül is expected to ratify the law in the coming week.

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