Turkish lawmakers shorten constitutional referendum deadline

ANKARA, Turkey — The Turkish Parliament on Saturday (June 2nd) approved an amendment that would shorten the deadline for organising a referendum on constitutional reforms from 120 to 45 days. The move is meant to enable the referendum to be held simultaneously with the parliamentary elections on July 22nd. It will be up to the Turkish electorate to decide the fate of a major constitutional reform package, approved by Parliament but vetoed by President Ahmet Necdet Sezer, that would introduce direct popular voting for president.

Also on Saturday, lawmakers voted to increase certain powers of the police, granting them the right to stop suspects or vehicles if they have reason to believe it would prevent a crime, and to search a suspect’s personal belongings with authorization from the local authority. The bill would also require fingerprinting of all people who apply for personal documents. (Reuters, AP, AFP – 02/06/07)

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