Tuesday, January 01, 2008

a new life for Turkey

A new life awaits Turks in new year

Starting a new year is always a joyful occasion, but Turkey has more to celebrate this year than just greeting 2008, as changes made to 170 laws are likely to pass next week, challenging some Turkish citizens to change their old ways of doing certain things.

A comprehensive ban on smoking will be one of the first bills taken up in Parliament after New Year’s. If the bill to be taken up this Wednesday passes, smoking in bars, restaurants and coffeehouses will be banned.
A host of new laws -- combined in a single bill -- will take effect in early January, perhaps as early as next week, and is bound to transform daily life in the country. The bill includes amendments to the basic penal legislation as part of the European Union harmonization process. The changes introduced are more than likely to directly influence the way we live our daily lives.
The new year will bring significant changes to Turks’ lives as the 170 amendments to be made to several penal provisions regulate a wide variety of daily life activities, from smoking habits to the way we treat our pets and other animals. The changes vary from fines introduced to employers who do not enforce official lunch hours in their offices to heavy penalties for hooliganism at football games. Individuals who fire bullets into the air will be deprived of their right to firearm ownership; owners of dangerous dog breeds will have to guarantee that they will not breed their animals and those who trade in animals without a license will have to pay heavy fines.
Although most of these new laws may seem to simply be a description of how a decent person with common sense would act normally, a majority of these are in fact a major challenge for many Turkish citizens. Very soon, most of us will seriously have to change our habits, as the harmonization bill has already passed the parliamentary Justice Committee. This 651-article bill will be introduced to Parliament next week.

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Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

I especially loved this bit:

Those who provide, distribute and comment on false, wrong, misleading or unfounded information on the economy that might affect the value of capital market instruments may be sentenced to imprisonment for two to five years.

It is a good thing that our MPs and cabinet ministers have immunity then.

I haven't looked at the proposed bill, but if this report is acurate, we can expect the tsunami of lawsuits against journalists that the PM and other politicians file about 'insults' to include those who report and opine on the economy. This law might come in very handy to stifle dissent in case of a serious economic downturn.

Sean Jeating said...

In a free society, the rights and laws protect the individual from the government.

In a dictatorship, the rights and laws protect the government from the people.

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. - Tacitus

Kemal Kerincsiz et al. will feel mortally offended. What a pity they have been born about 1900 years too late to sue Tacitus, isn't it? :)

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

It is a good thing that our MPs and cabinet ministers have immunity then.
but the press has to more accurate now.
I thought immunity will be lifted as well for MP's?
Bulent, you are frorm RC? Than my spouse knows you, happy New Year..))

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Sean, individuals like MP's in Turkey have all kind of privileges unknown and unprecedent in European modern history.
Let's call them 'The Mandarins', reflecting the Chinese elite..))
Happy New Year!

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...


but the press has to more accurate now.

Oh yes, government meddling with the press always produces a more accurate one. We know this from history, don't we? I haven't looked at the text of the bill yet, it might be something relatively innocous like making the use of press power for pumping and dumping a particular stock a crime. But as written, it seems insane.

Yes I did attend RC. Cheers to your wife, whoever she might be.

Happy new year to all.

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

ooops, I meant Hans. Sorry about that,

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Bulent, np.
You will find my spouse on Lost in Colors on my blogroll.

My question still remains: are they going to lift the immunity for MP's? Also, they need now approval of someone to prosecuted or not?

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

Hmm, I was trying to be facetious but perhaps it wasn't clear (of course politicians in power routinely resort to propaganda lies to affect the markets).

I don't think the immunity laws will be changed until the statute of limitations on the pending cases for some MPs run out. I couldn't find a list of pending cases in English, but here's one in Turkish.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Then there are a lot of pending cases?..))
I hope that they understand that EU MP's don't have this kind of immunity...

Bulent Murtezaoglu said...

The draft costitution also grants immunity to the president. I quote from here:

Legislative immunity for the president: The president is currently not held liable for acts arising from fulfilling the duties of office. The president’s immunity in this respect will continue. The president can only be tried on charges of treason. The new constitution will introduce legislative immunity to the president. Thus, the president cannot be tried on charges of crimes committed before assuming the presidential post and will be immune during his/her term in office.

Hans A.H.C. de Wit said...

Bulent, immunity for a president is normal. But not when he or she committed a crime before becoming president.
The French know this, look at Sarkozy..))
The article sounds fine with me, but I still have my doubts about True or Misleading intentions of this government.
When one party rules the whole counry, there is something wrong. See the USA..