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Report: Turkey to tighten squeeze on Islamic businesses

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    Assalamu alaikum Report: Turkey to tighten squeeze on Islamic businesses ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2001
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      Assalamu'alaikum

      Report: Turkey to tighten squeeze on Islamic businesses
      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      http://www.cnn.com/2001/WORLD/meast/03/31/turkey.islam.ap/index.html

      March 31, 2001


      ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- Turkey's civilian and military
      leaders have agreed on new measures to tighten controls over
      Islamic businesses in a campaign to curb political Islam, a
      Turkish newspaper reported Saturday.

      The National Security Council -- made up of top generals and
      political leaders -- decided in a meeting Friday to amend
      laws
      to allow a government inspection board to scrutinize
      companies partly owned by municipalities run by an Islamic
      party, Hurriyet reported.

      The Security Council also agreed to closely watch the
      activities of 33 Islamic-oriented companies and to appoint
      special prosecutors in five provinces to check
      Islamic-oriented publications, the paper said. Prosecutors
      can
      order publications banned or confiscated if they deem that
      they violate anti-sedition laws.

      Most Security Council decisions are kept secret and officials
      would not comment on the report.

      But the military has repeatedly called political Islam one of
      the greatest threats to the officially secular nation and has
      long
      been pushing the government to take steps to curb the rise of
      Islam, including the strict enforcement of a ban on
      Islamic-style head scarves at universities and the closure of
      some religious schools.

      Hurriyet newspaper said the 33 companies the military wants
      scrutinized includes Kombassan Holding, the largest of the
      Islamic businesses, which exports a wide range of products
      including paper, tires and farm machinery, to 54 countries.

      The military believes Islamic-leaning businesses are
      financing Islamic activism in Turkey.

      The Islamic-oriented companies have a market value estimated
      at several billion dollars. Most founders are religious and
      for
      example provide prayer rooms for employees. They deny
      financing Islamic activism.

      Abdullah Gul, an Islamic party official, on Saturday
      criticized
      the decisions, urging the government instead to concentrate
      efforts on pushing a reform package through parliament to end
      the country's economic crisis which has led to a depreciation
      of the lira and thousands of layoffs.

      "This is what the people are waiting for," Gul said.

      Gul's Virtue Party, the third largest in parliament, is
      charged
      with anti-secular activity and with being a replacement of
      another, now-banned Islamist party and faces closure by the
      Constitutional Court.

      The European Union, which Turkey aspires to join, wants
      Turkey to curb influence of the Security Council which in
      effect dictates policy on a wide range of issues, including
      defense and education.


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