Turkish court annuls ombudsman law in EU setback

ANKARA - The country's top court has dealt a setback to government efforts to meet European Union accession requirements by annulling an ombudsman law designed to hold public authorities to account.

The Constitutional Court said its judges unanimously canceled the law on Thursday in a court case that had been brought by former President Ahmet Necdet Sezer in 2006.

A court official confirmed the ruling to Reuters on Friday and said details would be published at a later date. EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn previously expressed regret that implementation of the ombudsman law had been blocked by the court, saying it was important in keeping public authorities accountable and enhancing citizens' rights.

Rehn told Reuters last weekend that Turkey must overcome internal divisions and get back to long-delayed reforms early next year to show it is serious about joining the EU.

Turkey began membership negotiations in 2005 but has made slow progress. A lack of appetite for enlargement among EU states and Turkish domestic political distractions have undermined momentum in the accession process.
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