Gov’t mulls reforms amid EU pressure

Gov’t mulls reforms amid EU pressure

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Gov’t mulls reforms amid EU pressure

A group of protestors voice their support for journalists in prison in this file photo. The government is working on a draft to shorten long trial and detention periods.

Amid mounting EU pressure over free speech suppression and jailed journalists, Turkish ministers announced a series of reforms as the Reform Monitoring Group (RİG) convened after a one-year hiatus, but the long list includes few new elements and no firm timetable.

Following the RİG meeting Dec. 18, the Turkish government promised judicial reforms on an “action plan for freedom of expression,” but details are not publicized yet. 

The government will bring a third law package to Parliament in upcoming days that would shorten long trial and detention periods, said Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin at a joint press conference at the RİG meeting. 

As part of the European Commission’s “Positive Agenda” proposal, the government will establish working groups on “judiciary and fundamental rights” based on the “justice, freedom and security” chapters of negotiations with the union.

“We attach importance on boosting constitutional works and judicial reforms,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said, stressing the significance of an “action plan on the freedom of expression.”

Following a workshop in November, the Ministry of Justice was drawing up an “action plan on human rights,” aiming to reduce the number of applications to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and prevent a decision of breach against Turkey, the minister said.

A draft of the law on establishing a commission for monitoring law enforcement officers was also on the government’s agenda, Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin said, replying to a question on the recent case of a woman beaten by İzmir police.