Turkey's EU negotiator defines referendum result as a turning point for country
Turkish State Minister and Chief Negotiator for EU talks Egemen Bagis said on Monday that everybody was pleased with the result of Sunday's referendum (on constitutional amendments), and this was a turning point for Turkey, Anadolu Agency reported.
Giving a break from Council of Ministers meeting to speak with 13 foreign journalists from EU countries, Bagis said that they were currently assessing the referendum results in the Council of Ministers meeting.
Noting that Turkish people had many expectations from the government in the issue of democracy, Bagis said that the government was acting by taking this stance of people into consideration.
One, who analyses Turkey, can understand that the new Constitution is a big reform package, added Bagis, and said that this new Constitution was an advanced step in development of Turkish democracy as well as Turkey's relations with the EU.
Turkey has become a stronger negotiator in EU membership talks thanks to the result of the referendum, he said.
Bagis noted that they would begin to work on the new Constitution after general elections due in ten months.
Unofficial results showed that 58 percent of the voters approved constitutional amendments while 42 percent voted against.
The constitutional amendments include measures favouring children, the elderly, the disabled, widows and orphans of martyrs and veterans also measures for the prevention of child abuse and the protect of the child against all forms violence.
The reform package amends arrangements regarding the right to travel abroad which it says may be restricted only during ongoing criminal probes and upon a judge's order.
The amendment would allow membership in more than one labour union it would allow individuals to file complaints and requests for information to a government-appointed ombudsman.
The changes would end the practice of expelling members of parliament whose actions were cited by a court as grounds to ban a political party.
Soldiers discharged by a Supreme Military Council decision would have the right to appeal against such decisions.
Military personnel who allegedly commit crimes against state security and the constitutional order would be tried in in civilian courts instead of military courts. Civilians would not be tried in military courts.
The amendments also include change in structure of Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, as well as the Constitutional Court, country's top judiciary body.
The package abolishes the provisional article 15 of the constitution which does not allow trial of the members of the National Security Council formed after the military coup in 1980, the ban on right to general strike; and paves the way for a citizen to become a member of more than one labor union, and civil servants and other public officials the right to collective bargaining.
It also paves the way for trial of parliament speaker, chief of general staff, and senior commanders by the High Tribunal on charges of crimes they commit regarding their positions.