Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Welcomes Turkey's New Law on Foundations

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/turkey : Eu Welcomes Turkey's New Law on Foundations

Article excerpt

The European Commission hailed the adoption by the Turkish parliament of a new law on foundations on 20 February. In a statement issued on the same day, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn called the Turkish legislators' decision "a welcome step forward". Unlike in case of a new law lifting the headscarf ban, approved by Turkish parliament in early February, Rehn admitted that the new law on foundations "is an important issue for Turkey, and one that all EU institutions have regularly highlighted as important to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms for all Turkish citizens".

For many years, the Commission has been criticising Turkey's law on foundations for being too restrictive, especially towards non-Muslim associations. In its report issued in November 2007, the Commission pointed to some obligations enshrined in the law as requiring immediate change. "The obligations imposed by the law on associations to notify the authorities before receiving financial support from abroad and to provide detailed documents on such support place a burden on the associations' operations," the Commission's report said.

The new law on foundations is lifting these requirements. The associations will be allowed to receive funds and donations from foreign individuals and institutions without prior notification. The new bill also allows the return of immovable property owned by non-Muslim foundations to their legal owners. Foundations will have a right to buy new properties without any prior authorisation. …

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