On the orders of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Justice and Development Party (AK Party) officials have prepared an intense work schedule for deputies in Parliament until the end of June, after which time Erdoğan will tour the country to garner support for the constitutional amendment package slated for a referendum on Sept. 12.
The government has been working on a bill that envisaged the retrial in juvenile courts of minors convicted under the Counterterrorism Law who have been tried in specially authorized criminal courts, with the aim of securing more lenient sentences.
The draft also seeks to allow the possibility of commuting the sentences handed down to minors, a stipulation the current law does not allow.
In December, the government submitted the bill on minors who face being tried as adults due to terrorism-related crimes but later withdrew it after social unrest in which minors participated in demonstrations.
There are around 4,000 minors who have allegedly broken the country’s anti-terrorism laws. Some of them face prison sentences of up to 25 years for throwing stones at security forces.
Sources said that the time when the bill will be on the Parliament floor will be clearer after Prime Minister Erdoğan returns from Brazil. Sources also said Erdoğan would gather information regarding Brazil’s experience in its struggle to work with its restless minors in the past. The bill is likely to be brought to the floor of Parliament in October.
Trying members of the military in civilian courts
Among the laws that the government is planning to pass by July is one regarding employing more teachers and police officers. In addition, following the recent deaths of miners in Zonguldak, the government is planning to change the Mining Law.
One of the most important of the laws planned to be passed will be the law allowing the trial of military personnel in civilian courts for crimes outside the military’s duties. The government had passed the law in Parliament in June, but it was overruled by the Constitutional Court. Then the government included it in the constitutional amendment package. Later, the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) presented a bill regarding the Military Courts’ Establishment and Proceedings Law, which will be subject to a vote in Parliament before July.
There are also bills regarding Turkey’s agreements of international cooperation.
One of them addresses nuclear cooperation between Russia and Turkey. Russia and Turkey shook hands this month on all the details and commercial terms for the construction of Turkey’s first nuclear power plant in Mersin’s Akkuyu district. Another one concerns the prevention of double taxation on commerce between Turkey and Ireland.
In addition, there are bills regarding the approval of the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Agreement; the Institute for Islamic Countries Standards and Meteorology; the Nakhchivan Agreement, regarding the establishment of cooperation among Turkic-speaking countries; and the Turkey-Korea Economic Cooperation Development Fund.
Presidential election law
As the election of the president by public referendum was approved in the Oct. 21, 2007 referendum, the government has drafted a presidential election law and presented it to Parliament. This is also expected to be cleared in Parliament soon.
However, there are no bills regarding harmonization with the European Union. Still, there are two pieces of legislation -- one is the oversight and evaluation of state aid law, and the other is the food safety law -- which the European Union requires to be passed in order to open the agriculture chapter with Turkey.
A law on fiscal rule for budgetary performance is also to be passed by Parliament in June. The fiscal rule law is expected to bring discipline and automatic balancing mechanisms to fiscal policies while protecting the implementation of these policies from arbitrary political interference such as populism.