Akif Ayhan* In a nationwide referendum held on April 16, 2017, Turkish voters were asked to decide whether to grant expanded competences to the President of the Republic. Turnout was a high 85% - about 49 million of 58 million eligible voters, including Turkish citizens living abroad, and the unofficial preliminary result indicates a close call: 51,4 per cent "Yes" (in favor) and 48,6 "No" (against). The results demonstrate that the people of Turkey support the proposed amendments to the Constitution. Some media analysts are of the opinion that the people's choice reflects a preference for more compromise than fragmentation on major topics of nationwide interest, in particular on reshaping the institutional pillars of the state. Following the "yes" vote, Turkey's political configuration will soon be transformed. The foundations of government will shift in emphasis from a Parliamentary to an Executive Presidential system, while the National Assembly will continue to function on a … [Read more...] about Implications of the Constitutional reform in Turkey
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(VOVworld)-March 2017 will mark 60 years of the Treaty of Rome, the foundation of the modern-day European Union (EU). The commemoration could be an opportunity for Europe to review and confirm its core principles and values which are facing grave challenges including growing populism and the new US administration’s policies. After World War II, Europe had no longer remained the global powerhouse. In 1951, the Treaty of Paris was signed, creating the European Coal and Steer Community. The Treaty was designed to pool Franco-West German coal and steel production with the ultimate goal of reconstructing the economies of the European continent, preventing war in Europe and ensuring a lasting peace. Announced by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in 1950, the proposed plan was that Franco-West German coal and steel production would be placed under a common High Authority within the framework of an organization that would be open to other European countries. In 1957, the Treaty of … [Read more...] about 60th anniversary of Treaty of Rome and EU future
A Vietnamese senior diplomat was detained by German customs officials as he transited in Frankfurt City with nearly €20,000 in undeclared cash, exceeding the allowed amount by German regulations, the local Bild newspaper reported. Nguyen The Cuong, the Vietnamese ambassador to Turkey, arrived in Frankfurt Airport at around 9:45 p.m. Thursday on a Turkish Airlines flight from the Turkish capital city of Ankara. Cuong had been stopped by customs officials at the airport on suspicion of money laundering, but was then allowed to go after paying a "security deposit" of $3,500. The Vietnam Consulate in Frankfurt said the custom officials' actions "clearly" violated the Vienna Convention on exemptions for diplomats. Cuong told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the families of his office's employees had asked him to bring the money back to Vietnam, and part of it was donations for flood victims in Vietnam. He said he was on his trip from Ankara to Hanoi to participate in the … [Read more...] about German customs nabs Vietnamese diplomat on suspicion of money smuggling
CPV: European Union (EU) foreign ministers stressed the neccesity of global co-ordination to fight bird flu after the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus was found in Romania and Turkey last week. Cases reported and suspected Tests on an additional 12 birds in Romania showed that they were infected by H5N1, said Romanian Minister of Agriculture Ghearghe Flutur on October 18. The first cases had been reported in two counties of the country near the Black Sea. Also, the lethal strain of the virus was found in a dozen dead swans near the Ukrainian border. According to EU officials, the bird flu is suspected of having broken out on one of the Greek isles and tests are being conducted. Meanwhile, Macedonia has sent samples from a dead chicken to Britain for further tests. The H5N1 strain has killed over 60 people in Southeast Asia since 2003. Avian flu was first seen in humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Many fear that the virus could transform into a new type that could spread between … [Read more...] about EU urges concerted global efforts against bird flu
After an over half century accession bid, Turkey and the European Union are moving into a new period of relations where tighter cooperation in specific areas will be prioritized over Ankara's drive for full membership, analysts say. Ties between Turkey and the EU reached a low point in 2017 with the membership process grinding to a halt and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accusing some key members, including Germany, of behavior reminiscent of the Nazis. But Erdogan has begun 2018 in a different spirit, bounding off in the first week of January on a visit to Paris and his foreign minister making a key fence-mending trip to Germany. Meanwhile, EU leaders have urged a new spirit of realism, with French President Emmanuel Macron saying during Erdogan's January 5 trip it was time to end the "hypocrisy" that progress could be made on Turkish membership. "There is an understanding on both sides that the accession process is dead and won't go anywhere soon," said Asli Aydintasbas, a fellow at … [Read more...] about Turkey and the EU: time for plan B?