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Opposition vows to challenge reforms after Turkish president signs package

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News | 5/12/2010 12:00:00 AM |

Turkey's main opposition party on Wednesday said it would take the fiercely debated constitutional reform package to the country's highest court after President Abdullah Gül signed the changes, paving the way for a referendum.

Turkey's main opposition party on Wednesday said it would take the fiercely debated constitutional reform package to the country's highest court after President Abdullah Gül signed the changes, paving the way for a referendum.

Gül signed the package Wednesday, nearly a week after Parliament passed the amendments.

The Republican People's Party, or CHP, will take the changes to the Constitutional Court, party spokesman Mustafa Özyürek said later Wednesday.

The reform package, which includes changes that put military commanders before civilian courts and gives Parliament a say in appointing judges, will likely be put to referendum this summer.

Parliament on Thursday passed the reforms with 336 votes, which fell short of the 367 required votes in the 550-seat assembly to adopt the proposals outright.

The government says the amendments strengthen democracy, expand the rights of women and children and enshrine the right to privacy. Opposition parties argue some measures would dilute judges' powers and increase the government's sway over the largely secular judiciary.

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