ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Turkish President Abdullah Gül approved a bill to prevent terrorism financing today, giving assent to a motion that was passed by Parliament last week after a number of heated debates and tense sessions. The law will enter into force on Feb. 16.
The reform will allow Turkey to avoid a possible demotion on Feb. 22 to the black list of the Financial Action Task force, an inter-governmental action group established to combat international money laundering and terrorism financing. According to the new law, those who finance or collect money for terrorist groups or people who are involved with such groups will be sentenced to between five and 10 years in prison.
The bill had been on Parliament’s agenda since the government submitted it to the legislature’s Justice Commission on Oct. 21, 2011. All opposition parties strongly resisted the bill, arguing that the commission to be established would be able to freeze the financial assets of dissident media outlets, associations, companies and labor unions. Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek, however, rejected assertions that the bill aimed to put pressure on public opposition.
Gül also approved a law on discipline in the Turkish Armed Forces, repealing the controversial penalty of cell isolation, known as the “disko” (disco) by men serving in the military, during times of peace.
Another law approved by Gül foresees the creation of the Selahaddin Eyyubi University, a private university owned by a foundation in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir. The project also includes the establishment of a local languages institute.