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TURKISH DEMOCRATIZATION MEASURES/EDITORIAL

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=        JULY 30, 1995

TYPE=        EDITORIAL

NUMBER=      0-06456

TITLE=       TURKISH DEMOCRATIZATION MEASURES

CONTENT=THIS IS THE ONLY EDITORIAL BEING RELEASED FOR BROADCAST

JULY 30, 1995.

ANNCR: THE VOICE OF AMERICA PRESENTS DIFFERING POINTS OF VIEW ON A WIDE VARIETY OF ISSUES. NEXT, AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT.

VOICE:

THIS MONTH, TURKISH PRESIDENT SULEYMAN DEMIREL SIGNED A NUMBER OF CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS AIMED AT STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY IN TURKEY. THE AMENDMENTS HAD BEEN PROPOSED BY PRIME MINISTER TANSU CILLER AND WERE OVERWHELMINGLY APPROVED BY THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT. AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE MEASURES WILL ELIMINATE RESTRICTIONS ON POLITICAL PARTICIPATION BY ASSOCIATIONS, TRADE UNIONS, AND COOPERATIVES AND GRANT CIVIL SERVANTS THE RIGHT TO FORM UNIONS AND ENGAGE IN COLLECTIVE TALKS WITH THEIR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYERS. OTHER MEASURES WILL LOWER THE VOTING AGE FROM TWENTY TO EIGHTEEN AND INCREASE THE NUMBER OF PARLIAMENTARIANS FROM FOUR-HUNDRED FIFTY TO FIVE-HUNDRED FIFTY. IN ADDITION, LANGUAGE PRAISING TURKEY'S 1980 MILITARY COUP WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE PREAMBLE TO THE CONSTITUTION. THIS IS IN LINE WITH THE PARLIAMENT'S DESIRE TO MAKE THE CONSTITUTION MORE OF A CIVILIAN DOCUMENT.

PRIME MINISTER CILLER ORIGINALLY PROPOSED TWENTY-TWO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS, AND SEVENTEEN HAVE BEEN PASSED SO FAR. ONE MEASURE STILL TO BE ADOPTED IS A MODIFICATION OF ARTICLE EIGHT OF TURKEY'S ANTI-TERRORISM LAW. THIS MEASURE HAS BEEN USED TO LIMIT FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, ESPECIALLY IN REGARD TO PEOPLE WHO HAVE URGED GREATER RESPECT FOR THE RIGHTS OF TURKEY'S KURDISH MINORITY. ONE OF THE MANY WRITERS FACING CHARGES UNDER ARTICLE EIGHT IS YASAR KEMAL, TURKEY'S MOST FAMOUS NOVELIST.

AS UNITED STATES OFFICIALS HAVE SAID, THE ACTIONS BY THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT AND PRESIDENT ARE AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT THAT WILL BROADEN THE PARTICIPATION OF THE TURKISH PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY'S DEMOCRACY. THE U.S. URGES TURKEY TO CONTINUE ITS DEMOCRATIZATION EFFORTS, ESPECIALLY IN REGARD TO INCREASING FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION BY MODIFYING ARTICLE EIGHT OF THE ANTI-TERRORISM LAW. IN THE MEANTIME, THE U.S. HOPES THAT THE EUROPEAN UNION WILL CONSIDER THE POSITIVE STEPS ALREADY TAKEN BY TURKEY. THE U.S. STRONGLY SUPPORTS TURKEY'S BID TO HAVE A CUSTOMS AGREEMENT WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION. THERE OUGHT TO BE FURTHER INTEGRATION OF TURKEY IN EUROPE.

ANNCR:

THAT WAS AN EDITORIAL EXPRESSING THE POLICIES OF THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO BE HEARD ON THIS ISSUE, PLEASE WRITE TO EDITORIALS, VOICE OF AMERICA, WASHINGTON, D-C, 20547, U-S-A. YOU MAY ALSO SEND US A FAX AT (202) 619-1043. YOUR COMMENTS MAY BE USED ON THE AIR.

28-Jul-95 12:28 PM EDT (1628 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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