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Turkish President Vetoes Christian Property Rights Law

ANKARA (Reuters) -- Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer vetoed an EU-inspired law to improve the property rights of non-Muslims, the president's office said on Wednesday.

Sezer, a staunch secularist, sent the law back to parliament for nine articles to be reviewed, the president's office said.

The ruling came on the day the European Commission recommended suspending some parts of Turkey's accession talks because of its failure to open its ports to EU member Cyprus.

The so-called foundations law, which fell short of European Union expectations, affects Greek Orthodox, Syriac and Armenian communities, and was approved after months of fierce debate in officially secular but predominantly Muslim Turkey.

Nationalists were concerned the law would give non-Muslim minorities -- seen by some as foreign in the case of the Greek Orthodox Church -- more influence in Turkey.

Sezer, who is sometimes wary of EU-inspired reforms which he fears could weaken the state or its secular structure, often vetoes legislation, which the AK Party dominated parliament can overturn.


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