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    Turkish FM meets NGOs to discuss National Program

    HotNewsTurkey Staff
    24 Ekim 2008 - 11:09Son Güncelleme : 24 Ekim 2008 - 17:53

    Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan Friday had a meeting with representatives of some nongovernmental organizations to discuss the draft national program of Turkey, a blueprint detailing the country's short- and long-term commitments to the European Union. (UPDATED)

    Turkey's EU accession process was an important frame in regard to boosting democracy, basic rights and freedoms as well as rule of law, Babacan said after the meeting.

    During Friday's meeting, the NGOs conveyed their messages on both the content of the plan and the pace of the reforms, which is also expected to be mentioned in the EU's Progress Report, which will be published Nov. 5.

    Babacan said EU membership was a "strategic goal" for Turkey and EU accession process was a project of civilization, adding this process was of great importance in regard to upgrading living standards of Turkish people.

    Turkey should maintain its EU bid to carry on its rapid development process in the economy, he said.

    "The country's EU adhesion process will benefit not only Turkey but also EU," Babacan said.

    In regard to the national program of Turkey, he said the program foresaw 130 legal regulations and 342 secondary arrangements and it was sent to representatives of 87 nongovernmental organizations and chairpersons of six political parties in the parliament.

    Some trade unions had already announced their dissatisfaction with the government's National Program, before the meeting.

    "What we need is not partial or non-functional amendments to the law, but an amendment in line with international norms, which secures the right to collective agreement and strike and remove obstacles that prevent collective organization of workers," the Turkish Daily News (TDN) quoted the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions, (KESK) as saying in a written response to the government.

    Pointing out that the National Program does not include anything related to the revised European Social Charter, KESK said the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would not likely change its attitude toward the struggles of organized labor.


    Through the European Social Charter, members of the Council of Europe agreed to secure certain social rights, including those related to workers, such as the right to work, right to organize and right to fair remuneration.



    "Democracy and freedom are not about form but essence. Amendments in form that have been made under the name of compliance with EU legislation did not lead to real democratization. The government should take action not to hoodwink but to create real democratization,” the KESK statement added.


    The Turkish Public Workers' Labor Union (Kamu-Sen) defined the government's commitment to an amendment on Law 4688, which foresees an increase in the freedom for organized labor, as "ambiguous".


    "It is stated that there will be an amendment to the law to make it comply with the EU and International Labor Organization, or ILO, agreements and to increase the freedoms of organized labor. However, it is not certain whether the amendment will be restricted with a few small regulations. If there will be an amendment, the matters should be clarified and what will be done should be revealed clearly," Kamu-Sen was quoted by the TDN as saying in its statement.


    Photo: AA




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