LOCAL > New law to permit Turkish police to detain ‘possible’ protesters

ANKARA - Hürriyet

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The move to strengthen police powers was precipitated by the countrywide Gezi Park protests, which began at the end of May. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The move to strengthen police powers was precipitated by the countrywide Gezi Park protests, which began at the end of May. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

A new regulation will allow Turkish police to detain those who possess the “risk of conducting a protest” from 12 to 24 hours without the demand of a prosecutor or a judge, prompting acute worries from opposition deputies.

The new regulations that will be conducted jointly by the justice and interior ministries will allow the police to detain a suspect who “may hold a protest” for up to 24 hours without any court decision while also increasing the penalties for resistance to police and damaging public property. 

The move to strengthen police powers was precipitated by the countrywide Gezi Park protests, which began at the end of May. 

Organizations which “tend to hold protests” will be monitored and their members could be detained by police if intelligence reports suggest they are planning to conduct a demonstration or action. 

A judge will also be able to extend the 24-hour detention period if desired. Under the current law, a judge’s or prosecutor’s order is necessary to detain people in such cases.

The regulations will also increase the penalties for resistance to police and damage to public property. Those who possess Molotov cocktails might be sentenced to up to five years in prison under the new regulations. The draft also includes a board to regulate security forces, which will monitor malpractice within the institutions.

Criticizing the moves, Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) deputy leader Semih Yalçın said the regulations were “signs of police state.” 

“These attempts might drag the country into chaos. The governments who attempt to do that will end in vain,” Yalçın told daily Hürriyet Oct. 6. 

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Ali Serindağ said the regulation did not comply with the rule of law. “Giving the security forces such an authority without the permission of a prosecutor does not comply with rule of law. … Besides, the police must be well trained in intervening against demonstrations,” he added. 

Another CHP deputy, İlhan Cihaner, described the regulation as a step behind “the inquisition” and “beyond fascism.”

“Now you can be detained just for being you even though you didn’t attend any protest,” Cihaner said.


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Notice on comments

Pawel Bury

10/17/2013 10:22:40 AM

Iran, Afghanistan... Turkey. Everything was a lot better before Islamists took over.

mara mcglothin

10/15/2013 9:06:40 PM

HANS I have quite a few Iranian friends who tell a completely different story and I tend to believe them since they were on the ground in Iran at the time...were you?

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

10/11/2013 1:16:11 AM

Brit in Turkey, the peacefulness within a dictatorship, based on torture by an omnipresent secret service, can work for some time (as long as you aren't a SAVAK target), but always includes the risk, that the citizens stop being afraid - by an unpredictable cause. As soon as that happens, the best organized opposition wins, which might not always be an improvement. Democracy was a risk for the AIOC (today: BP), but far less of a risk for all of us. MI6 won a pyrrhic victory.

Brit in Turkey

10/10/2013 6:47:39 PM

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke: Thanks. I only asked as I lived and worked in Iran in the 70s during the Shah's time. The country was relatively prosperous and peaceful then and women were not oppressed.

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

10/9/2013 2:14:08 PM

Brit in Turkey, I refer to 1953. (Churchill had pushed for it earlier, but couldn't bring Truman on board.) While British files might still be closed, have a look at "CIA Confirms Role in 1953 Iran Coup" at The National Security Archive.

Brit in Turkey

10/9/2013 11:54:48 AM

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke: "destroying the nascent democracy in Iran". What period in history are you referring to?

Nikos K.

10/8/2013 10:32:55 PM

Pro-active detention of civilians without even a judge's demand? Another "democratic" reform by the Sultan-wannabe! I'm sure the 50% who didn't vote for this tragic party must feel really uncomfortable. Turkey is flirting with the Middle Ages.

Hans-Joachim "Terrorist" Zierke

10/8/2013 7:21:49 PM

mara mcglothin, Ahmedinejad is what the USA got for betraying the Declaration of Independence, and destroying the nascent democracy in Iran, in a joint operation of CIA and MI6, in favour of US and British business interests. If an American politician praises democracy, all Iranians laugh, government and opposition alike. When the streets of Teheran were green, I mailed the British PM with the question, if this won't be the perfect time to apologize. As expected, I never got an answer.

mara mcglothin

10/8/2013 5:14:13 PM

CILGIN Iran has already decided to eradicate homosexuals from Iran, IF there were any. I wish you could have been at Columbia University when Ahmedinejad spoke and announced that Iran didn't have any homosexuals. He was openly booed and laughed at by American college students. I am not sure which shocked him most, but by the look on his face, I would say it was the fact that we don't control our youth better in the USA. It was a rich moment to be sure:)

Brian Irlanda

10/8/2013 11:59:41 AM

This reminds me of the Sc-Fi story and movie "Minority Report" where people are arrested and jailed before they commit a crime. The AKP have no interest in democracy. Democracy is only a cover story for their real goal...a fascist Islamic Republic.
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