Tur­key to in­tro­duce se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions

Arab Times - - FRONT PAGE -

ANKARA, July 12, (RTRS): Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s AK Party and its na­tion­al­ist ally plan to in­tro­duce se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions to en­sure the “fight against ter­ror­ism” will con­tinue af­ter a two-year-old state of emer­gency ends this month, two sources told Reuters.

The reg­u­la­tions, which will grant broader author­ity to lo­cal gover­nors, will likely be brought to par­lia­ment and go into ef­fect by the end of this month, one of the sources, a se­nior AK Party of­fi­cial, said.

Tur­key has been un­der a state of emer­gency since a 2016 failed coup, al­low­ing the govern­ment to limit free­doms and rule by de­cree, by­pass­ing par­lia­ment. Er­do­gan, who was this week sworn in an un­der a new, ex­ec­u­tive pres­i­den­tial sys­tem and now holds sweep­ing pow­ers, had promised not to re­new the state of emer­gency when it ex­pires on July 18.

Crit­ics have said Er­do­gan’s new pow­ers — which al­low him to is­sue de­crees on ex­ec­u­tive

mat­ters and ap­point and re­move se­nior civil ser­vants, in­clud­ing some judges and pros­e­cu­tors — may largely su­per­sede the state of emer­gency.

“The main aim of the reg­u­la­tion is that the fight against ter­ror­ism will not be in­ter­rupted af­ter the state of emer­gency is lifted,” the of­fi­cial said. “The author­ity of gover­nors will be broad­ened.”

Un­like may­ors, who are elected, gover­nors in Tur­key are ap­pointed by

Ankara.

“Tur­key is well on its way to an in­creas­ingly au­thor­i­tar­ian-style of govern­ment, built around Pres­i­dent Er­do­gan,” US in­tel­li­gence con­sul­tancy So­ufan Group said. “The end of the state of emer­gency is a needed and pos­i­tive step, but one that is un­der­cut by the breadth of the new pow­ers of the pres­i­dency that Er­do­gan now wields.”

Some 160,000 peo­ple have been de­tained un­der emer­gency rule and nearly the same num­ber of state em­ploy­ees have been dis­missed, the UN hu­man rights of­fice said in March.

Of those de­tained, about 77,000 have been for­mally charged and kept in jail dur­ing their tri­als, the in­te­rior min­is­ter said in April.

Crit­ics of Er­do­gan ac­cuse him of us­ing the failed putsch as a pre­text to quash dis­sent. Tur­key says the mea­sures are nec­es­sary to com­bat threats to na­tional se­cu­rity.

“They made the state of emer­gency into a tool to in­ter­vene in ev­ery as­pect of life,” said Teo­man San­car, a law­maker from the sec­u­lar­ist op­po­si­tion CHP law­maker, re­fer­ring to Er­do­gan’s rul­ing AKP. “Now they want to make the state of emer­gency per­ma­nent with a le­gal cover.”

Some se­cu­rity reg­u­la­tions are ex­pected to end when emer­gency rule is lifted — such as right of se­cu­rity forces to search peo­ple with­out a war­rant, the re­quire­ment that peo­ple carry an ID at all times and the govern­ment’s abil­ity to ban protests and cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties.

The max­i­mum time some­one can be held in de­ten­tion with­out an in­dict­ment, up to 14 days now, will again be up to 4 days.

The Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP), which is in an al­liance with Er­do­gan’s rul­ing AKP, had previ-

ously said that the state of emer­gency should be ex­tended fur­ther. The party is known for its hard­line na­tion­al­ism and deep an­tipa­thy to left­ists and the Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal move­ment.

A Turk­ish court sen­tenced 72 de­fen­dants to life in prison on Thurs­day for their role in killing 34 peo­ple when rogue sol­diers seized con­trol of a sus­pen­sion bridge in Istanbul two years ago dur­ing an at­tempted coup, state me­dia said.

The court sen­tenced the 72 de­fen­dants, who in­cluded a colonel and ma­jor in the Turk­ish mil­i­tary, for “at­tempt­ing to de­stroy con­sti­tu­tional or­der”. An­other 27 de­fen­dants were sen­tenced to more than 15 years in prison for help­ing that ef­fort, ac­cord­ing to state-run Anadolu news agency.

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