Turkey's ruling AKP mulls Parliament panel to oversee intel agency
‘We are mulling [a plan] for the prime ministry inspection board to draw up reports [on intelligence organizations]’ Deputy PM Beşir Atalay says. AA photo
Turkey’s government is considering the establishment of a parliamentary commission to oversee all intelligence organizations, including the police, gendarmerie and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), as part of a bid to allay worries that a new law will furnish the spy service with almost unchecked power.
Parliament is set to begin deliberations about the bill expanding the powers of MİT with additional missions both inside and outside the country, formally turning it into an intelligence coordination body that will work directly under the prime minister. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is still working on the draft bill that is likely to be submitted to the legislature today, Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay told reporters yesterday.
“We are mulling [a plan] for the prime ministry inspection board to draw up reports [on intelligence organizations]. It’s proper to inspect institutions over those reports,” Atalay said, noting that the executives of the institutions had participated in the discussions. They had yet to decide which commission of Parliament would inspect MİT, the minister added.
The need to establish such a commission emerged after even some AKP lawmakers voiced concerns that the bill could produce a high-powered intelligence organization without introducing necessary mechanisms to check its actions. The MİT draft was withdrawn from Parliament in late February following concerns issued by President Abdullah Gül who asked the government to revise the text before submitting it to the legislature.
All intelligence organizations, including the police, gendarmerie and the financial crimes department, would be under the inspection of a parliamentary commission, said Atalay. But the final decision on the composition and composition of the commission will likely be given on today. The commission will either be permanent and independent or be composed by members of Parliament’s interior and justice commission. If it is created as a new commission, its title will likely be the National Security and Intelligence Inspection Commission.