CHP petitions top court to annul Foundations Law

March 25, 2008, Tuesday/ 19:07:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN
The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) petitioned the Constitutional Court yesterday to nullify the recently approved Foundations Law, which enables foundations owned by non-Muslim communities to possess property and receive financial assistance.The petition, signed by CHP deputies, was submitted to the country's top court by the party's parliamentary group deputy leader, Hakkı Suha Okay. The CHP argued in its petition that nine articles of the Foundations Law, which Parliament approved in late February with a vote of 242 to 72, are unconstitutional and contravene the basic characteristics of the republic and should thus be annulled.

With the new Foundations Law, property previously seized from non-Muslim foundations will be returned; foreign foundations would be allowed to establish branches in Turkey; new non-Muslim foundations would be allowed to open representative offices and branches abroad so long as they explain their goals and aims in writing beforehand; and such non-Muslim foundations may, without explicit permission, acquire land and use it as they wish.

Okay, who answered questions directed by journalists after he submitted the petition to the Constitutional Court, said the Foundations Law included articles that contradict Turkey's interests and should be annulled.

"Articles 5, 6, 11, 12, 14, 25, 26, 41 and 68 are against the basic principles of the republic and contravene the Constitution. With these articles, minority foundations will have a political structure. They will be permitted to receive financial assistance from people and organizations outside of Turkey. None of these are compatible with the principles of our republic," said Okay.

Some points in the Foundations Law which the CHP opposes are the establishment of non-Muslim foundations and their method of governance and representation, administrative pecuniary penalties to be imposed on these foundations, the right granted to non-Muslim foundations to acquire property and their international activities.

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