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Sezer vetoes EU-backed ombudsman law

ANKARA - TDN with Reuters | 7/2/2006 12:00:00 AM |

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has vetoed a European Union-backed law creating the post of ombudsman, his office said on Saturday. The EU, which Turkey hopes to join, believes the

President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has vetoed a European Union-backed law creating the post of ombudsman, his office said on Saturday. The EU, which Turkey hopes to join, believes the ombudsman position will boost the fight against corruption, increase transparency and allow better control of military spending.

President Sezer, who often wields his veto against laws introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said the post contravened Turkey's Constitution by extending to parliament powers it had no right to exercise.

Under the new law, the ombudsman would be linked to Parliament.

Sezer, a former head of the constitutional court, asked parliament to revise the law.

Parliament, where the AKP has a big majority, went into summer recess on Friday and is now unlikely to reconsider the bill until the autumn.

It could override Sezer's veto by approving the law a second time unchanged, though the president could then appeal to the Constitutional Court over the issue, whose word would be final.

Sezer, a staunch secularist, has often clashed with the AKP, a center-right party with Islamist leanings.

He is due to retire next May and secularists are nervous that Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan or another senior AKP figure may then seek the top job. Parliament elects the president for a seven-year period.

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