Trilingual society key feature of action plan

Updated 04 February 2014
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Trilingual society key feature of action plan

The anniversary of the 66th Independence Day of Sri Lanka is an opportune moment for us to reflect with a sense of satisfaction on the many accomplishments the country has achieved within a brief span of time.
As a country, we are proud of the significant progress that has been made since the defeat of terrorism four years ago, and our people are enjoying peace in a united Sri Lanka.
During the past several years, an extraordinary development drive has been undertaken by the government.
Numerous mega development programs are being implemented with the construction of harbors, airports and roads, bringing economic development to rural areas and connecting them to the larger economic development of the country.
The government is committed to ensuring that the opportunities gained by society as a result of these developments are available to all communities, across the country, for the upliftment and betterment of their lives.
In the Northern Province, free elections have been held after many years; bringing communities into the political process for the first time; internally displaced people have been able to return to their homes and have been reunited with their families; and fishing, agriculture, and a multitude of other industries have been reinvigorated to provide livelihood opportunities for people.
The National Action Plan and the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission are being implemented steadily and substantial resources are being allocated to ensure their objectives. A national policy is underway to transform the country into a trilingual society.
The policy framework of the Government, “Mahinda Chintana: Vision for the future”, is steadfast in guiding our development efforts and harnessing the tremendous potential of Sri Lanka, and is helping to revolutionize the country to emerge as a regional hub in aviation, commerce, maritime affairs and knowledge.
With these developments, increasing linkages and strong growth; Sri Lanka is a world class travel destination poised to move toward being an upper middle income country. The climate of peace and stability which is now prevailing in the country is an essential condition for this enhanced economic activity.
Sri Lanka continues to have a strong vibrant foreign policy and healthy relations in the global arena, guided by principles of nonalignment and friendship with all.
We are steadily expanding our diplomatic relations with a large number of countries and opening new diplomatic missions in different parts of the globe; deepening our ties of friendship amongst the international community of nations.
On the international stage, Sri Lanka hosted the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in November 2013 and will serve as the Chair in Office of the Commonwealth for the next two years.
This significant event was a great opportunity for world leaders to see the tremendous progress and unprecedented post-conflict developments taking place in Sri Lanka.
At this time, I express my gratitude to the expatriate Sri Lankan community that has continued to contribute to the economic and social development of the country.
On the occasion of our National Day, let us rededicate ourselves to intensify collectively our commitment toward supporting our motherland in our challenges ahead, in order to lead the country toward a brighter future.

Prof. G.L. Peiris
Minister of External Affairs


Verdict expected in mass Turkey trial of 'coup ringleaders'

Updated 4 min 35 sec ago
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Verdict expected in mass Turkey trial of 'coup ringleaders'

Ankara - TUR
Ankara, June 20, 2019 (AFP) -A Turkish court is set to hand down verdicts Thursday to more than 220 suspects in one of the biggest trials relating to the 2016 failed overthrow of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The trial of 224 suspects including more than two dozen former generals began in May 2017 in the country's largest courtroom inside a prison complex in Sincan, Ankara.
The space was purpose-built to hear coup-related trials and has room for 1,558 people.
Among the suspects is US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen, who Turkey accuses of ordering the attempted putsch which left hundreds dead and thousands more injured.
Gulen strongly denies the claims. Turkey has failed to secure his extradition.
The charges against the main suspects include "violating the constitution", "using coercion and violence in an attempt to overthrow" parliament and the Turkish government, "martyring 250 citizens" and "attempting to kill 2,735 citizens".
The prosecutor last month sought 252 aggravated -- without parole -- life sentences against nearly 40 suspects, local media reported. Such sentences carry harsher prison conditions.
The suspects also each face 55,880 years in jail on the charge of injuring 2,558 civilians and 177 security personnel, state news agency Anadolu reported.
Since July 2016, tens of thousands of people have been arrested over alleged links to the coup under a two-year state of emergency which ended last year.
But nationwide raids by police have continued and there are almost daily reports of public prosecutors issuing detention warrants for suspects over Gulen ties.
Nearly 290 coup-linked court cases have been launched, 261 of which ended with 3,239 defendants convicted, according to justice ministry figures.


Twenty-six generals are among those on trial, including former air force chief Akin Ozturk and Mehmet Disli, the brother of former ruling party lawmaker Saban Disli, who since September has served as Turkey's ambassador to the Netherlands.
Another suspect is colonel Ali Yazici, Erdogan's former military aide, as well as Lieutenant Colonel Levent Turkkan, who was the aide to then Chief of Staff General Hulusi Akar. Akar was appointed defence minister in July 2018.
Of the suspects, 176 are in jail while 35 have been freed pending trial and 13 suspects including Gulen are still sought for arrest, according to Anadolu.
The prosecutor in May requested 12 unnamed suspects be acquitted and that the case of the 13 fugitives be separated from the main coup ringleaders' trial.
Dozens of those on trial are accused of being members of the "Peace At Home Council", the name the plotters apparently gave themselves on the night of the coup attempt.
The failed overthrow left 248 people dead, according to the Turkish presidency, not including 24 coup-plotters killed on the night.
Last month during a hearing, Ozturk told the court that claims he was a member of the council and a senior figure in the Gulen movement were "lies".
"For 34 months, I have tried to prove my innocence," Ozturk said. Many of the suspects during the two years of hearings have denied any links to Gulen or the coup.
raz/fo/cw