Friday, August 22, 2008

More Disclosures from the NPAA Draft

Just one part of the NPAA that will require constitutional amendment and will be very difficult to pass . . . (But is it not wonderful to be talking about these things again?)

From Today's Zaman:
The government's new national program, in line with the requirements of EU accession, calls for significant changes in Turkey’s military-civilian relations, an area of Turkey’s state structure that is frequently criticized by the EU.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) on Monday released a long-awaited EU reform package that suggests changes to 131 laws and 342 bylaws and regulations, including legal changes to the auditing procedures for all Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) expenditures.

The package, prepared by the Foreign Ministry and the Secretariat-General for EU Affairs, is the draft of the Third National Program of Turkey. It calls for changes in the laws regarding the Court of Accounts that will enable military spending to be audited.

The program continues to be called a “draft” although it has already been discussed by the Cabinet because parts that include political commitments are yet to be discussed with opposition parties.

The EU has recently been stressing the need for Turkey to reorganize its civilian-military relations, especially following the military’s strongly worded statement warning to the ruling AK Party on April 27 of last year. The Second National Program, drafted in 2004 by the AK Party government, had limited the authority of the once-powerful National Security Council (MGK), a body that essentially institutionalized the military’s control over Turkish politics, to an advisory role and removed military members from key political bodies. The annual progress report compiled by the European Commission in November of last year said, “Full civilian supervision of the military and parliamentary oversight of defense expenditures still need to be established.”

Accordingly, the government’s third EU harmonization package requires a change in Article 160 of the Constitution and then another change in the Court of Accounts Law for the auditing of all military spending.
Also covered in this article is planned judicial reform:
The program asks that preparations for judicial reforms be completed by the end of 2008 and brought to Parliament as one of the last stages of the reform package.

A judicial reform strategy covering the years between 2010 and 2014 will
be prepared in order to increase the accountability of the judiciary.

Other judicial reforms will include the restructuring of the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges (HSYK), the establishment of a union of judges and prosecutors, the passing of a law on arbitration of jurisprudential conflict and amendments to the Notaries Law, the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) and, most importantly, the Code on Criminal Procedure (CMK) so as to make the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights enforceable in Turkey.

The HSYK has been a controversial institution because it is not possible to appeal its decisions. A former prosecutor who had claimed in an indictment in 2006 that a top military official had set up an illegitimate organization was disbarred by the HSYK.

The judicial reforms will also introduce changes to reduce the workload of the judiciary. For that purpose, the Supreme Court of Appeals will be expanded. An ombudsman institution will be introduced to bring quick solutions to some disputes. New laws will be passed to carry out these changes.

As part of the judiciary reform process, institutions of forensic medicine will be restructured under the guidance of objective experts.

The reform package will also address the needs of the judges and prosecutors. They will receive continuing education regarding the international agreements to which Turkey is signatory, such as the European Convention on Human Rights.

A general administrative procedures law will be adopted to determine time limits for opening lawsuits against administrative processes or procedures.

Judicial press offices will be established to ensure transparency.

To reduce the workload of prosecutors and judges, paralegal secretaries will be employed.

A new institution will be established to deal with international cases and to increase communication with the European Union and other international institutions.

To increase transparency in public institutions a new law will be introduced and a fully functioning public service inspection office will be established.

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