Don't Overlook Turkey's Legal Reforms
Regarding the letter in reaction to political reforms recently enacted by the Turkish Parliament (''Turkey's Human Rights Abuses,'' Nov. 7): I was shocked to read the comment by Kathryn Cameron Porter (President of the Human Rights Alliance) that admitting Turkey into Europe's Customs Union could suggest that ''political struggles must be fought with more than words.'' The constitutional reforms and the amendments to the Anti-Terror Law that passed the Turkish Parliament with overwhelming support are not cosmetic in nature. Already, 82 prisoners have been released as a result of the reforms to Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law adopted on Oct. 27.
These efforts will bring Turkish democracy - the only secular democracy in the Muslim world - that much closer to Western levels. That is good news for Turks and good news for Turkey's relations with the West.
Levent Gumrukcu Washington
Third Secretary, Embassy of Turkey
The power of volunteerism
Hurrah for the article ''Vermont's Answer to Crime: Hard Work and Compassion,'' Nov. 13. It shows what volunteer work can do for prison inmates. There is a successful drug rehabilitation program in Bakersfield that is founded on the principle that giving of yourself in volunteer work for the community develops a sense of pride and achievement.
In the Bible it says ''...out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries...''(Matthew 15:19). So it is the heart that needs to be transformed, not punished. In today's society some people have to be taught the way.
Anita Chaney Bakersfield, Calif.