ANKARA: Sahin: Bans And Restrictions Are Threats Against Regime

Anadolu Agency
March 24 2004

Turkish State Minister Sahin: Bans And Restrictions Are In Fact
Threats Against Regime

ISTANBUL – Turkish State Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet
Ali Sahin said on Wednesday that bans and restrictions were in fact
threats against the regime.

Speaking in a ceremony held as about 200 people joined the Justice
and Development Party (AK Party), including members of Jewish and
Armenian societies in Istanbul, Sahin noted that the government tried
to comply with the democratic standards of the civilized world.

Therefore, Sahin said, the government made many new arrangements to
meet Copenhagen criteria.

Sahin said, ”we know problems that foundations of societies are
facing for years. Every citizen of Turkish Republic is a first class
citizen. Nobody can make any discrimination among Turkish citizens
whatever their religion, race or culture are.”

They had made some changes related with foundations as a part of
European Union (EU) adjustment laws, Sahin stated.

But, Sahin noted, there were still some problems in implementation of
new laws.

Sahin said, ”why should there be a difference between foundations
formed by citizens who believe in Islam and citizens who believe in
other religions? Why shouldn’t they be subject to the same
regulation? Naturally, they should be subject to the same

Legal works and arrangements on foundations still continued, Sahin
pointed out.

Sahin stressed that Turkish citizens living abroad could freely
perform their religious duties and noted that it should be the same
for Turkish citizens of foreign origin.

”We want full democracy, freedom of belief and worship in Turkey.
And, we are exerting efforts to prevent our citizens from facing any
problems. We don’t think that this will weaken democracy or threaten
the regime. Because, bans and restrictions are in fact threats
against the regime. If citizens of this country say how fair the
state is and how freely they can perform their religious duties,
then, this will strengthen the regime and democracy,” Sahin added.

The law on amendment to several laws which is publicly known as the
seventh EU adjustment package also includes arrangements regarding

The bill amends additional third article of the decree with the force
of law on establishment and duties of the Directorate General of

In accordance with this amendment, foundations formed in Turkey can
be a member of foundations and organizations formed outside Turkey
under the permission of the Interior Ministry and positive opinion of
the Foreign Ministry in case cooperation of the foundations are
considered beneficial.

Foundations formed in foreign countries can hold activities, open
branches and cooperate with some other foundations in Turkey with the
consent of the Interior Ministry and opinion of the Foreign Ministry.