Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ANKARA5268
2006-09-13 15:24:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

PARLIAMENT TO TAKE UP EU LEGISLATION AT SEPTEMBER

Tags:  OSCE PGOV PHUM PREL EU TU 
pdf how-to read a cable
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INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDAI/DIA WASHDC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHDC//J-3/J-5//
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEUITH/TLO ANKARA TU
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RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC
RUEHAK/USDAO ANKARA TU
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005268 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/14/2016
TAGS: OSCE PGOV PHUM PREL EU TU
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT TO TAKE UP EU LEGISLATION AT SEPTEMBER
19 EXTRAORDINARY SESSION


Classified By: Political Counselor Janice Weiner; reasons 1.4 b and d

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 005268

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/14/2016
TAGS: OSCE PGOV PHUM PREL EU TU
SUBJECT: PARLIAMENT TO TAKE UP EU LEGISLATION AT SEPTEMBER
19 EXTRAORDINARY SESSION


Classified By: Political Counselor Janice Weiner; reasons 1.4 b and d


1. (C) Summary: The Turkish Parliament will meet in a
special session on September 19 at the ruling Justice and
Development Party's (AKP) request to consider legislation
related to Turkey's European Union accession process. The
government will attempt to pass the so-called Ninth Reform
package in time to allow the European Commission to
incorporate developments into its annual progress report, due
out late October. Controversial Turkish Penal Code (TPC)
Article 301, which stifles free speech, is absent from the
list, though contacts tell us the government is working on
changes. The package of laws is an ambitious effort that the
Parliament is unlikely quickly to complete. End summary.

-------------- --------------
TGNA to Consider Seven Draft Laws Related to EU Accession
-------------- --------------


2. (U) On September 12, the five AKP whips submitted a
petition to the Turkish General National Assembly (TGNA)
Speaker's office requesting the General Assembly convene
extraordinarily on September 19. Later the same day,
Parliamentary Speaker Arinc formally called for parliament to
assemble at 3 p.m. on the 19th. The AKP government hopes to
pass European Union harmonization legislation with sufficient
time to allow the European Commission to take account of
developments in its annual progress report, which is due out
on October 24 but which may stretch to early November so as
not to coincide with the end of Ramadan. The petition lists
nine draft laws to be considered, seven of which relate to
Turkey's European Union accession process:

-- The Law on Private Educational Institutions;
-- The Law on Amending the Settlement Law;
-- The Ombudsman Law;
-- The Foundations Law;
-- The Law Amending the Law on the Court of Audits;
-- The Law on the Ratification of the Amendments in the
European Social Charter; and
-- The Law on the Ratification of the Revised European

Social Charter.


3. (U) These seven draft laws are part of the Ninth Reform
Package of 14 new laws and two administrative measures, which
Foreign Minister Gul announced on April 12, 2006. Prior to
its summer recess, parliament passed four of the 14 laws,
pertaining to Military Courts, the UN Fight Against
Corruption convention, the UN Human Rights Convention, and
the Ombudsman Law.


4. (U) The Ombudsman law, which President Sezer vetoed
because it allegedly expanded parliamentary power in
violation of the Constitution, is again on the current
agenda. If passed, the President may not exercise another
veto, but may opt to refer the law to the Constitutional
Court. Several of the draft laws remain in committee: The
Ombudsman Law; the Foundations Law; and the Law on the Court
of Audits.

--------------
Free Speech: GOT Working on Article 301
--------------


5. (C) In recent weeks, the Turkish press has speculated that
parliament would take up TPC Article 301 in the September
session. This controversial law has been used to prosecute
writers such as Orhan Pamuk and Elif Safak for commenting on
sensitive topics such as Turkish-Armenian history. Although
not currently on the September agenda, the GOT appears to
realize that it can no longer delay action on the issue.
Several contacts, including AKP Whip Sabdullah Ergin and AKP
Vice Chair Dengir Mir Firat, told us that the GOT is working
on the issue and they expect it to be added to the September
19 agenda. MFA contacts have told us amending Article 301
remains an important issue for the AKP, especially as Prime
Minister Erdogan was imprisoned on freedom of speech grounds
before taking office. The GOT is likely to amend the current
version of the law in an attempt to limit its scope instead
of scrapping it completely.

--------------

ANKARA 00005268 002 OF 002


Comment
--------------


6. (C) We have been hearing for weeks that this special
session would be called (in fact, the GOT used the signatures
gathered for this to aid in calling the September 5 special
session that approved Turkey's UNIFIL deployment). It is a
tall order. The Parliament will have a full plate and the
government may be hard-pressed to push through all seven
EU-related laws. Several of the proposed laws, notably the
Foundations Law, remain controversial, while several draft
laws remain in committee. Others are laws meant to harmonize
pre-existing legislation with the new TPC. It is likely the
European Commission has already finalized much of the
upcoming progress report. Even so, given the looming
Turkey-EU crisis over opening Turkish ports and airports to
the Republic of Cyprus, any good faith effort and forward
movement will help Turkey's EU allies to help Turkey.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON