Turkish President Approves EU Reforms Curbing Army

ANKARA (Reuters)–President Ahmet Necdet Sezer has signed into law sensitive reforms that curb the powerful military’s role in politics–a key step in Turkey’s effort to meet human rights criteria for joining the European Union. A secularist former top judge–Sezer approved the laws late on Wednesday–according to a statement on his website In June he vetoed aspects of another package of EU-inspired laws–raising concerns he could reject this legislation–slow the EU reform progress and stir tension with the Islamist-rooted government. Muslim Turkey is the only EU candidate not currently negotiating its entry to the affluent bloc–because it has failed to implement the basic political criteria of membership. The legislation targets the influential National Security Council (MGK)–a monthly forum where the military wields wide influence over elected officials. The laws strip the MGK of its executive powers and call for a civilian secretary-general.

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