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.