Draft law not linked to peace talks, minister says

Draft law not linked to peace talks, minister says

Draft law not linked to peace talks, minister says

AA Photo

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin rejected on Feb. 13 any causal connection between the fourth judicial package – which was presented to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Feb. 12 – and the ongoing “peace process” aimed at ending the conflict between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“What does it have to do with it?” Ergin swiftly responded when a reporter asked whether the package would make a contribution to the “roadmap designed for resolution of the terror.” The reporter was apparently referring to the process involving jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, the eventual target of which is convincing PKK militants to lay down their arms and withdraw from Turkish soil.

The package, which is not in force yet, is expected to pave the way for the release of detainees in cases concerning the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the PKK, thus to constitute a significant step within the ongoing process.

Despite his swift negative response to the question, Ergin, as part the answer to the same question, elaborated on the content of the package. Particularly citing Articles 6 and 7 of the Anti-Terror Law and Article 220/8 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which are all related to making propaganda of terrorism and terror organizations, Ergin said the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has a criterion for the occurrence of crimes within these articles. “The ECHR says that for the occurrence of a propaganda crime, it needs to ‘include, shelter and encourage violence” and “there should be an effort for legitimizing violence.’ Is this criterion a wrong criterion?”

Human rights defenders as well as executives from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) argue that most of the detainees in the KCK case were arrested because they expressed their opinions or attended a demonstration and that there is no charge of violence against them.

A considerable number of KCK case detainees are also members of the BDP.