Ankara police granted permission for ‘general searches’
AA PhotoAnkara’s 10th Criminal Court of Peace has granted the police permission to conduct 15 days of “general searches,” meaning officers can search individuals, vehicles or private documents at will in a bid to prevent “potential crimes” in the city.
The Ankara Police Department reportedly requested the permission via the governor’s office on Feb. 12 to maintain the order and safety of the community in six districts for 15 days.
Police requested the permission in order to discover any kind of illegal weapons, explosives or other items so as to prevent crimes and protect national security, public safety, general health, general morals and people’s rights and freedoms, according to the request.
The court approved the permission, allowing police to conduct general searches in central districts including Çankaya, Altındağ, Keçiören, Mamak, Yenimahalle and Pursaklar between Feb. 13 and 27.
Ankara Bar Association board member Erol Aras criticized the decision, saying 3 million people in the city were being counted as suspects, describing the situation as an “invisible state of emergency.”
“The decision is against the law. It has no judicial grounds. An invisible state of emergency has been declared in the city. The decision is the same as the ones made in periods of state of emergency. So there is a state of emergency that we don’t know about,” Aras said.
CHP submits parliamentary question
Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Sezgin Tanrıkulu submitted a parliamentary question over the decision, demanding Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan provide more information about the matter.
Tanrıkulu has demanded to know the concrete reasons for the granting of the permission, as well as whether the decision was based on an unnamed state of emergency in Ankara. The questions also sought answers as to whether there would be an extension for the period of the search and how many police officers were assigned for the mission.
The CHP’s deputy leader also asked whether officers would use force against those who object to the search and whether those objecting would be permitted to consult a lawyer.
Tanrıkulu also asked four other questions, including “We know that you are proud of lifting a state of emergency. How do you explain such a decision?” “Upon the decision, will there be search points in the regions?” “Will houses and work establishments be searched as a part of the decision?” and “Where was the last similar practice in Turkey and how long did it last?”