07 May 2007

The People's President

Breaking News: Turkey's parliament has just approved by 361 votes to 94 a first reading of the constitutional amendment proposed by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last Sunday to allow the country's president to be elected directly by the public instead of by MPs. The proposal will now need to be debated and approved a second time before President Ahmet Necdet Sezer signs it into law — assuming the courts don't block its passage.

In view of the risks for Europe if Turkish reformers are rebuffed, it is hoped both that these tentative moves towards greater democracy will prove successful and that the commitment from France's new president-elect to "be on the side of the oppressed around the world" and his conciliatory talk of a "Mediterranean Union" between Europe and Africa will mean Nicolas Sarkozy, whose five year mandate will be over before any decision is made on Turkey's bid to join the EU, will adopt a softer line on Turkey once he is in office than he did during his campaigning.


Stambulian said...

Be careful what you believe: Today’s Zaman notes that nobody in Turkey is able to name a single law promoted by the AK Party that challenges the country’s secularism and under AK Party rule, Turkey has seen lower inflation and higher foreign investment, and has been accepted as a candidate for EU membership. “This is not just a political crisis, it’s a war about a style of life.” See http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/detaylar.do?load=detay&link=110563