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EU irked by Turkish adultery law


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#1    Talon

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 11:56 PM

Turkey's plans to make adultery a crime could affect its chances of joining the European Union, EU enlargement commissioner Guenter Verheugen says.
The bill, to be presented to parliament next week, may be seen as Islamic law entering Turkish law, he warned.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a devout Muslim, says the bill will help protect women from deception.

An EU report due out in October will assess Turkey's progress towards meeting EU membership criteria.

The adultery law is part of a package of sweeping changes to the penal code, which include the abolition of torture and the expansion of individual liberties. The changes are an effort to bring Turkey's legal code into line with European human rights legislation.

Bad impression

Mr Verheugen, who has spent the last few days touring Turkey, expressed his concerns in an interview with the Turkish Vatan newspaper.

"If Turkey tries to include crimes that are not in other countries' laws in its penal code, European Union countries could interpret this as Islamic law entering Turkish law," he told the paper.

He added that he was not "defending adultery", but said "Turkey should not give the impression... that it is introducing Islamic elements into its legal system while engaged in a great project such as the EU".

Women's groups and liberal commentators have condemned the bill, saying it would be used against women and pushes the secular Muslim state closer to an Islamic legal model.

But the main opposition party says it will not challenge it, provided men face the same penalties as women.

The BBC's Virginia Gidley-Kitchin says adultery used to be illegal in Turkey until 1996, when the Constitutional Court struck the law down because it penalised women more than men.

Men were deemed to have been adulterous if they were involved in a long-term affair; but women could be charged if they were unfaithful only once.

Temel Karamollaoglu, a member of the Islamist Saadet party - which is more conservative than Mr Erdogan's governing AKP - says the law is necessary to protect the family and the society.

"At present adultery is accepted as a cause for divorce, and it is not accepted in society," he told the BBC. "The point is whether it should be punishable or not.

"We think that Turkey should join the EU, but not really accepting every detail in the moral value, not every aspect of European society at present. Countries may have different cultures. I accept European Union as a multi-cultural, multi-religious society."


Positive

Women's groups plan to demonstrate against the bill when it is presented to parliament on 14 September.

Canan Arin, of the Women's Rights Centre at the Istanbul Bar Association, says it is a violation of the constitution protecting individual's privacy.

"Everyone has the right to demand respect for his private and family life," she said. Ms Arin fears the bill will work against women, as traditional women are reluctant to complain about their husbands.

"If they bring it, it will provoke honour killings more than ever," she said.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Istanbul says Mr Verheugen has given the impression of enjoying his visit but has stressed that it is the implementation of reforms that he is most interested in.

He stressed that the use of torture must be punished and he called for further cultural freedoms for Turkey's large Kurdish community.

According to our correspondent, it seems pretty clear from his more informal comments and demeanour that Mr Verheugen wants to give Turkey the kind of report which would boost its membership hopes.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3641026.stm



I rather Turkey didn't join the EU, don't want us to have I direct border with the Middle East

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#2    Talon

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 02:16 PM

Turkey debates banning adultery

Turkey's parliament is debating reforms to the country's penal code which would include making adultery a crime.
The controversial clause is part of sweeping changes to Turkey's laws, intended to bring them closer to those of European Union member states.

It has been criticised by women's rights groups and officials scrutinising Turkey's bid to join EU.

However, latest reports say the government may drop the clause as part of an agreement with the opposition.

The centre-left People's Republican Party is opposed to the clause.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond, in Ankara, said a vote on the adultery clause was expected to take place in three or four days' time.

Mixed response

Many of the reforms - which include outlawing torture and imposing stiffer penalties on human traffickers - have been welcomed by the EU and human rights activists.

But the clause to make adultery a crime has been greeted with dismay by women's groups and liberal commentators, who demonstrated outside parliament against the bill.

"Such a law will not save marriages, on the contrary it will ruin them," women's rights advocate Senal Saruhan told the Associated Press.

"It is a backward approach that will allow the state to intervene in our lives."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a devout Muslim, says the clause, introduced late in the draft code, will help protect women from deception.

Details of the anti-adultery legislation have not yet been made public, but Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said the measure could only be applied if a spouse complains.

Warning

An EU report due out in October will assess Turkey's progress towards meeting EU membership criteria.

Guenter Verheugen, the European commissioner for enlargement, commented on the adultery clause during a trip to Turkey last week.

"I cannot understand how a measure like this could be considered at such a time," Mr Verheugen said. "It can only be a joke."

The chair of Turkey's parliamentary commission on EU relations said the country was fully aware of opposition to the move - both within the EU and Turkey itself.

"This is one of the reasons why it is going to be discussed in detail," Yasar Yakis told the BBC.

"Other quarters of the Turkish public opinion are also against this initiative, so I'm sure the government will find a way in between somewhere."

Adultery used to be illegal in Turkey until 1996, when the Constitutional Court struck the law down because it penalised women more than men.

Men were deemed to have been adulterous if they were involved in a long-term affair; but women could be charged if they were unfaithful only once.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3654650.stm

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#3    wunarmdscissor

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 03:16 PM

And This is the coountry that George bush is pressurising the EU to allow the in.

As many americans say to us "im just glad they dont get a vote"lol

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#4    Talon

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 10:33 PM

Turkey 'withdraws adultery ban'

The opposition in Turkey says the government has reversed plans to criminalise adultery, removing the proposal from a package of reforms.
The proposed move was part of sweeping changes to laws intended to bring them closer to those of EU member states.

The measure provoked criticism from women's rights groups and officials scrutinising Turkey's bid to join EU.

The news came as the government and opposition parties debated the legal reforms in parliament.

The BBC's Jonny Dymond in Ankara says the decision represents the first time the country has so publicly stepped back from a legal proposal because of EU objections.

A vote on the package of measures is expected to take place in three or four days' time.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3654650.stm



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#5    Talon

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Posted 14 September 2004 - 11:08 PM

Hmmm, info on this issue seems to be comming out by the hour tongue.gif


Turkey signals U-turn on adultery

The Turkish government and the opposition have indicated that controversial plans to criminalise adultery have been dropped.
Opposition leader Deniz Baykal said the government had agreed that such reforms would have to be agreed by both sides.

He made the statement flanked by government ministers on Tuesday, following a meeting in Ankara.

The opposition has condemned moves to outlaw adultery, as part of a review of the country's 78-year-old penal code.

The review is intended to bring Turkish laws closer to those of European Union member states.

The adultery ban provoked criticism from women's rights groups and officials scrutinising Turkey's application to join EU.

The government and opposition parties have begun debating the reforms in parliament.

After meeting ministers on Tuesday, Mr Baykal said: "No motion that does not bear the signature of both parties will be submitted to the assembly."

The agreement was confirmed by Justice Minister Cemil Cicek, according to AP ness agency.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3654650.stm



"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#6    Babs

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 03:44 AM

Ah... progress.  thumbsup.gif

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#7    AztecInca

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Posted 15 September 2004 - 04:15 AM


Well that was well worth the time wasn`t it!

As Babs said ..........progress!!!!!


#8    Talon

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 08:38 PM

Analysis: Turkey, adultery, and the EU

For weeks Turkey has been talking frenziedly about adultery. It's nothing to do with the country's sexual habits. There's been nothing to indicate an upsurge in infidelity.

Instead, the newspapers and talk shows, government and opposition, pressure groups and activists have all been homing in on a change that was proposed to Turkey's penal code, which would have criminalised adultery, making it punishable with either a fine or imprisonment.

The issue hit so many buttons.

To some it was a question about the role of the state on private life.

To others there was a whiff of Islamism about the whole thing - no small accusation in a country where the military protects the secular nature of the Republic and the government of the day has to watch its steps lest it be accused of Islamist intentions.

Then there was Turkey's EU future, or at least its hopes.

European politicians and officials were making less and less subtle references to their deep dislike of the proposed law.

And running through the whole saga was of course, sex, a delight to journalists and bar bores whatever the country.

'Overshadowed'

By lunchtime on Tuesday, Turkey's Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, who, along with the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, appears to have brought Turkey to within inches of EU membership negotiations, had clearly had enough.

The changes to the penal code, he told parliamentary colleagues, were being overshadowed by the row over adultery.

By late afternoon on Tuesday the adultery proposal was dead and gone, washed away by a fudgy parliamentary compromise that just about allowed the government to save face.

If you want to know why, look at Abdullah Gul's comments. Not only was the adultery proposal being met with a tidal wave of abuse across much of Europe. But that wave was threatening to swamp the reform of the country's Penal Code, a reform it was undertaking in order to bring itself into line with European standards.

By bringing in the adultery proposal, the government was not so much shooting itself in the foot as amputating limbs without anaesthetic. Because reform of the penal code is actually something to boast about.

EU officials acknowledge that there are some things they would have liked to have seen in the reforms that have not made it. But in general they are enthusiastic; "modern" and "progressive" was how one official spoke of the proposed reforms.

As has been the pattern of the last few years, this is a sweeping overhaul of Turkey's legislation, especially as it relates to violence against women.

Proposed changes

Rape within marriage is to be made a crime. Leniency for rapists who marry their victims will be abolished. Leniency for mothers who kill their children will also disappear. The difference between women and girls in sexual assault cases is disappearing.

Provocation will no longer be a defence in "honour killings" - murders of women accused of illicit affairs by their relatives. The idea of "honour", a societal code once enshrined in the legal code, is to go. Attacks on women that were once handled as attacks on the family or as creating disorder in society, will now be treated as attacks on individuals.

The statute of limitations for major corruption cases, especially involving government and business, is to be abolished. All laws will have to be in accordance with the international agreements that Turkey is party to. Discrimination on religious, ethnic and sexual grounds is made a crime.

Privacy is also to be protected - the police will be punished for entering homes without good reason, the interception of telephone calls and the gathering of personal information restricted. And heavy penalties are to be introduced for environmental destruction.

Public endorsement

As with so many of the reforms of the past three years, this has been a top-down business. There has been greater involvement by NGOs and pressure groups than before. But the vast majority of Turkish citizens are unlikely to know anything of the changes being made to their legal system.

Except, perhaps, for the adultery proposal. And there is the irony. Because despite the high-octane abuse levelled at the government, both inside and outside Turkey, there was significant public support for the proposed law.

And now, without any debate in parliament, it is gone, swept away as part of the government's single-minded pursuit of EU membership.

The adultery law was without doubt overshadowing all the good work of the penal code. But, for some, its sudden disappearance may be a rather rude awakening to the demands of the EU membership process.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3659298.stm

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#9    Babs

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 09:23 PM

Sounds good. Thank god for the changes in 'violence against women' legislation. thumbsup.gif  thumbsup.gif  thumbsup.gif


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Henry David Thoreau...

#10    wunarmdscissor

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 10:37 AM

yeah lets do what bush says an let them into the EU they sound like a nice country now.

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#11    Talon

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 11:54 AM

I don't want them to join myself laugh.gif for many reasons tongue.gif

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#12    Talon

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Posted 17 September 2004 - 12:21 PM

Turkey denies charges of torture

Turkey has rejected allegations that it systemically tortures prisoners and detainees - a key issue in its bid to join the European Union.
The rebuttal came as an EU envoy visited for final checks on its human rights record ahead of a report on its eligibility for membership.

The EU report on whether the country has met the political criteria for membership talks is due in October.

A leading Turkish human rights group made the torture allegations.

Turkish Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said he wished to stress there was no "systematic torture or other mistreatment of prisoners" in his country.

The government had a "zero-tolerance" approach to such behaviour, he said.

'Revolutionary changes'

Mr Aksu said the group behind the allegations, the independent Human Rights Association (IHD), had "failed to grasp revolutionary changes" in the way the country approached human rights.

Earlier, the IHD said security forces had reacted to new laws by simply switching to torture methods which leave no trace, such as sleep or food deprivation instead of electric shocks or beatings.

Turkey has introduced a series of sweeping changes to the country's 78-year-old penal code, intended to bring Turkish laws closer to those of European Union member states.

Torture will be abolished and individual liberties expanded as part of the changes.

A clause proposing to outlaw adultery - added at the last-minute to the package of changes - was hastily dropped when the government realised it would damage the EU bid.

EU inspection

The EU has confirmed that an envoy is visiting Turkey for a final inspection of its commitment to end torture.

"We're going ahead with final checks as we are finalising the report," said Jean-Christophe Filori, spokesman for EU Enlargement Commissioner Guenter Verheugen.

The envoy, who was not named, is due to end their visit on Friday.

Mr Verheugen has stressed that torture must be punished.

On the basis of his report, national leaders will decide in December whether to start membership talks next year.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3662644.stm




"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#13    Talon

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 02:57 AM

Turkish PM attacks EU 'pressure'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has hit out at the European Union, telling it not to interfere in his country's internal affairs.
Mr Erdogan spoke after the European Commission warned that Turkey's bid to join the EU could be complicated by its delay in passing a legal reform bill.

The bill was withdrawn on Thursday because of a controversy over moves to criminalise adultery.

Mr Erdogan said no-one should use the EU as an excuse to pressure Turkey.

The European Commission is due to give its opinion next month on whether Turkey should be given a date for talks to begin on its application for EU membership.

The penal code reform bill was intended to bring Turkish laws closer to those of EU member states and was seen as crucial to Turkey's chances of EU entry.

However, the entire package of measures is now subject to review and may not be ready in time for the commission's report on Turkey's progress.

Political storm

EU enlargement commissioner Guenter Verheugen called the delay "a very worrying development" and said the new penal code was central to the question of whether Turkey met the conditions of being "a state of law".

Turkish share prices fell more than 3% on the news.

The withdrawal of the reform bill came after a political storm erupted in Turkey over a clause intended to make adultery a crime.

The measure was greeted with dismay by women's groups and liberal commentators, who demonstrated outside parliament against the bill.

On Tuesday, the Turkish government appeared to have dropped the idea after pressure from the EU.

But two days later, members of the Governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) said they would bring in their own amendment to criminalise adultery, prompting the government to shelve the bill.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/3666288.stm



"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato

#14    Erikl

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 10:56 AM

BTW, would you support Israel joining the EU?
Lets drop the Palestinian issue for a second.

Do you think Israel has a place in Europe?

(And no, I don't imply anything in this, just wanted to know what you people think).

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#15    Talon

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Posted 18 September 2004 - 12:08 PM

no

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something." -Plato




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