Legal experts find constitutional reform package in line with Turkey's commitments to EU
Reforms included in a major constitutional amendment package, set to face a referendum next month, are also necessary steps for Turkey to align itself with European Union standards in various areas, according to a new report by legal experts at Turkey's Secretariat General for European Affairs (ABGS). The package introduces "positive discrimination" in favor of the elderly, minors and the disabled, who are in need of social protection, as well as steps to ensure gender equality, and to provide constitutional protection for the rights of the children. These are also in line with provisions in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union to which Turkey is a party. The package also includes amendments regarding private data protection, which is in Turkey's to-do list under a European Council resolution. The reform package also includes amendments to improve working conditions in Turkey in accordance with International Labor Organization (ILO) standards. These amendments will also enable Turkey to meet relevant provisions in the Revised European Charter and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. An ombudsman law, of great importance for EU harmonization efforts, is also part of the package. Among the other amendments in the package is the right of individual application to the Constitutional Court, which is expected to ensure better functioning of domestic law, thus preventing legal cases from being taken to European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). This will help Turkey meet a decision of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe made up of independent experts in the field of constitutional law. The package also includes constitutional amendments that would make party closures more difficult. The principles set forth by the Venice Commission would be taken as the basis for any future closures.