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Reports
Friday, 29-September-2006
The Associated Press - ANKARA, Turkey Turkey's parliament on Wednesday ratified a European charter expanding social and economic rights for workers as part of reforms aimed at boosting the predominantly Muslim country's chances of EU membership.

In a late night session, legislators voted 286-8 in favor of ratifying the 46-member Council of Europe's Revised European Social Charter which sets standards on working conditions and guarantees equal pay and freedom of association.

The Council of Europe is a separate organization from the European Union, but by ratifying the charter, Turkey commits itself to changing its laws to bring working conditions in line with those of other European nations.

While ratifying the charter, however, legislators placed reservations on three provisions of the charter, including one on minimum wage and expanded right to association.

Labor Minister Murat Basesgioglu said the reservations would be lifted once Turkey's economy was stronger.

"Like other countries, we have placed reservations on some of the provisions. This was not because we are against them, but because of the conditions in our country," Basesgioglu said. "Certain things need to be done, when these are done, we will lift the reservations."

"We are adding new standards to our social standards," he said. "We are not only improving the well-being of our people but also approving a very important international document."

The charter, which dates back to 1961, was revised and modernized in 1996. Turkey, which is a member of the Council of Europe, signed the revised charter in 2004 but parliament needed to ratify it to make it binding.

Ratification of the charter was one of a series of EU-backed measures parliament aims to pass in the coming weeks before the EU issues crucial EU report in November on Turkey's progress toward EU membership.

On Tuesday, parliament passed a bill broadening opportunities for minority schools, but removed a key passage that would have allowed foreign students to attend.

Parliament's justice commission was debating wording of a separate draft law aimed at returning properties of religious minority foundations confiscated by the state since 1974.

ANKARA, Turkey Turkey's parliament on Wednesday ratified a European charter expanding social and economic rights for workers as part of reforms aimed at boosting the predominantly Muslim country's chances of EU membership.

In a late night session, legislators voted 286-8 in favor of ratifying the 46-member Council of Europe's Revised European Social Charter which sets standards on working conditions and guarantees equal pay and freedom of association.

The Council of Europe is a separate organization from the European Union, but by ratifying the charter, Turkey commits itself to changing its laws to bring working conditions in line with those of other European nations.

While ratifying the charter, however, legislators placed reservations on three provisions of the charter, including one on minimum wage and expanded right to association.

Labor Minister Murat Basesgioglu said the reservations would be lifted once Turkey's economy was stronger.

"Like other countries, we have placed reservations on some of the provisions. This was not because we are against them, but because of the conditions in our country," Basesgioglu said. "Certain things need to be done, when these are done, we will lift the reservations."

"We are adding new standards to our social standards," he said. "We are not only improving the well-being of our people but also approving a very important international document."

The charter, which dates back to 1961, was revised and modernized in 1996. Turkey, which is a member of the Council of Europe, signed the revised charter in 2004 but parliament needed to ratify it to make it binding.

Ratification of the charter was one of a series of EU-backed measures parliament aims to pass in the coming weeks before the EU issues crucial EU report in November on Turkey's progress toward EU membership.

On Tuesday, parliament passed a bill broadening opportunities for minority schools, but removed a key passage that would have allowed foreign students to attend.

Parliament's justice commission was debating wording of a separate draft law aimed at returning properties of religious minority foundations confiscated by the state since 1974.

ANKARA, Turkey Turkey's parliament on Wednesday ratified a European charter expanding social and economic rights for workers as part of reforms aimed at boosting the predominantly Muslim country's chances of EU membership.

In a late night session, legislators voted 286-8 in favor of ratifying the 46-member Council of Europe's Revised European Social Charter which sets standards on working conditions and guarantees equal pay and freedom of association.

The Council of Europe is a separate organization from the European Union, but by ratifying the charter, Turkey commits itself to changing its laws to bring working conditions in line with those of other European nations.

While ratifying the charter, however, legislators placed reservations on three provisions of the charter, including one on minimum wage and expanded right to association.

Labor Minister Murat Basesgioglu said the reservations would be lifted once Turkey's economy was stronger.

"Like other countries, we have placed reservations on some of the provisions. This was not because we are against them, but because of the conditions in our country," Basesgioglu said. "Certain things need to be done, when these are done, we will lift the reservations."

"We are adding new standards to our social standards," he said. "We are not only improving the well-being of our people but also approving a very important international document."

The charter, which dates back to 1961, was revised and modernized in 1996. Turkey, which is a member of the Council of Europe, signed the revised charter in 2004 but parliament needed to ratify it to make it binding.

Ratification of the charter was one of a series of EU-backed measures parliament aims to pass in the coming weeks before the EU issues crucial EU report in November on Turkey's progress toward EU membership.

On Tuesday, parliament passed a bill broadening opportunities for minority schools, but removed a key passage that would have allowed foreign students to attend.

Parliament's justice commission was debating wording of a separate draft law aimed at returning properties of religious minority foundations confiscated by the state since 1974.



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