Audio recording cameras to be installed in buses in Ankara

Audio recording cameras to be installed in buses in Ankara

Audio recording cameras to be installed in buses in Ankara

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A system of cameras that can record audio will be installed in Ankara city buses as part of a series of security precautions introduced after multiple suicide bombings in the Turkish capital which have claimed scores of lives in the last six months. The system, which will be installed in nearly 2,000 buses, will be carried out according to a new protocol signed between the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality and Security General Directorate, daily Cumhuriyet reported on April 18. 

The project, the cost of which is yet unknown, has been criticized for its ability to be traced by the police and record private conversations between citizens. 

“The practice [installing audio recording cameras] is in the position of intervening in the private sphere. It means pressuring society and fascism under the name of general security exploitation,” said Ömer Faruk Eminağaoğlu, the former president of the Judges and Prosecutors Union (YARSAV), while commenting on the project that ignited a debate on civil surveillance.  

Reacting to the decision to install cameras that can record audio, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy group leader in the Ankara Metropolitan Municipality Council Doğan Yılmazkaya said the practice shouldn’t be used for purposes outside public security and criticized Ankara Mayor Melih Gökçek for not sharing enough details about the project. 

“Gökçek didn’t share enough details with us on the protocol that was made. The people can speak against the government in metros and buses. In order for the practice to not be used against the people, the intention is important,” said Yılmazkaya, adding that the practice was not in the budget plan and a subsidy for it didn’t exist. 

The security precautions came after Ankara was targeted three times by suicide bombers in the last six months. 

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants had bombed a peace rally near the Ankara Railway Station, leaving at least 103 dead on Oct. 10, 2015.

Four months later, a suicide car bomb attack targeted military shuttles in the city on Feb. 17, killing 29 people and injuring 81 others.

Less than a month later, a car bomb exploded next to a public bus in central Ankara on the evening of March 13, killing at least 37 and wounding 125.