US Commission welcomes reform vote

September 16, 2010, Thursday/ 17:00:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
An independent US government agency welcomed the approval of constitutional reforms in Turkey but warned that only effective implementation will lead to lasting democratic change in Turkey. Leaders of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), also known as the US Helsinki Commission, on Tuesday hailed the Sept. 12 referendum for constitutional reform as a step forward and said the people of Turkey have made clear their desire for change.

“I hope the proposed constitutional reforms will lead to real improvements in people’s lives, including Turkey’s beleaguered ethnic and religious minorities,” the chairman of the commission, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, said through a press release. He added that the implementation of the voter-approved constitutional amendments and other much needed reforms could help Turkey overcome the legacy of the past and build a strong future firmly rooted in respect for democratic principles and human rights.

US President Barack Obama and the State Department, along with the European Union, also welcomed the reforms that will limit the military’s role in politics, improve gender equality, end the immunity of coup leaders from prosecution and restructure the high judiciary in line with EU requirements for full membership. “These reforms could lead to greater transparency and accountability, which are essential to strengthening democracy,” the co-chairman of the group, Rep. Alcee L. Hastings, stressed.

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