Ankara court overturns permission for police to conduct ‘general searches’
The Police Department had claimed that the permission would help find any kind of illegal weapons, explosives or other items. DHA photoAn Ankara appeals court overturned on Feb. 21 a ruling granting the police the authority to conduct general searches at any time against anyone, declaring the move to be “unconstitutional.”
The authorities of officers were extended on Feb. 21 after Ankara’s 10th Criminal Court of Peace acceded to a request from the Ankara Police Department to help it prevent “potential crimes,” triggering a public outcry.
The higher court argued that the scope of the general searches was defined too widely, thereby violating the Constitution, the Turkish Penal Law and international treaties.
The Police Department had claimed that the permission would help find any kind of illegal weapons, explosives or other items. It argued in its request that it was necessary to prevent crimes and protect national security, public safety, general health, general morals and people’s rights and freedoms.
However, the appeal instance said the decision would implement “disproportionate restrictions on individual rights and freedoms regarding the general interest.”
Ankara Bar head Sema Aksoy, who took the decision to appeal, expressed her satisfaction with the higher court’s ruling.
“[The decision] has given a breath to Ankara. Declaring 3 million people living in six districts as suspects by permitting general searches is clearly incompatible with the principles of the rule of law, judicial searches and preventive searches,” Aksoy told daily Hürriyet.
She also said the Ankara Bar would sue Police Department officials if such measures were to be adopted again.