Terror finance bill set for more talks in Turkish Parliament
ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily NewsA long-delayed bill to halt the financing of terrorism was sent for fresh discussions at a parliamentary sub-commission yesterday as a senior minister warned that Turkey’s failure to pass the legislation was hurting its international image.
Parliament’s Justice Commission convened to debate the bill but immediately sent it to a sub-commission, where it may undergo changes. The three opposition parties in Parliament united in their objections to the bill when it was debated at the Interior Commission last December on the grounds that the government could use the motion as a means to bully opponents.
The United States has long pressured Turkey to adopt the bill, but progress has been slow. EU Minister Egemen Bağış said Turkey received another strong request from the Financial Action Task Force (FAFT) in February to pass legislation against money laundering and the financing of terrorism. “This situation is not befitting of Turkey,” Bağış said.
Other countries that have not signed such legislation include Bolivia, Cuba, Ethiopia, Ghana, Indonesia, Kenya, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sao Tome and Principe, Sri Lanka, Syria, Tanzania and Thailand.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have raised misgivings about the scope of the bill and voiced concern that the government may use it against the opposition at a time when terror-related charges are frequently leveled by prosecutors. The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), for its past, has argued that the government will use the law to suppress Kurdish opponents and order fresh police raids on BDP-held municipalities. Kurdish businesspeople have also expressed unease over the motion.
A provision that would open the door for the freezing of assets without a court ruling has come under particular criticism. The draft includes strict regulations such as freezing the accounts of those funding terrorist groups, as well as heavy penalties and fines. It envisages jail sentences of up to 10 years to those funding terrorist organizations or terrorists, even if the money is not directly used for a terrorist crime.