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4.06.2010

Constitutional amendment proposals in Turkey



Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)has submitted a new version of their proposed Constitutional amendments to the Grand National Assembly. The draft differs only slightly in substance from the previous version that the party submitted. One of the new additions is a proposal to alter Article 157 of the Constitution to provide judicial immunity to judges of the Military Supreme Administrative Court would have judicial immunity.

The first version of AKP's proposed amendments was submitted to parliament last Tuesday, despite warnings from Turkish President Abdullah Gul that the party should take more precautions before amending the constitution. The reform package contains seven revisions from the original amendments unveiled at the end of March, including a highly-disputed reform to the judicial system that would allow military and government officials to be tried in civilian court. The reform would also make it harder for the government to disband political parties that challenge the country's nationalist establishment and would ban the prosecution of the 1980 coup leaders. AKP says it created the amendments to promote democracy in Turkey and support its bid into the European Union (EU). The proposed amendments have been met with opposition by Turkey's Supreme Court. In an interview in late March, the president of the court Hasan Gerceker declared that the proposed amendments threaten separation of power and judicial independence. Another iteration in the longstanding struggles between the AKP and the military-judicial complex, if I can use the term.

Thanks to Serkan Yolcu for the heads-up!

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