Former President Abdullah Gül urges government to revise controversial decree
Turkey’s former President Abdullah Gül has joined opposition politicians in criticizing the content of recent state of emergency decrees providing impunity to civilians who fought against the July 15, 2016, coup attempt and terrorist acts that followed it, calling on the government to revise it.
“The ambiguity that does not comply with the legal phrasing of the decree law no. 696 is worrisome in regards to the rule of law. I hope it will be revised to avoid developments that could sadden all of us in the future,” Gül said on his Twitter account on Dec. 25.
Gül, one of leading founders of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), served as the 11th president of Turkey between 2007 and 2014. The former president rarely criticizes the government on domestic issues.
His criticism came after the government issued two decrees on Dec. 24, which has sparked a fresh row between the ruling party and opposition parties. One of the articles in the new decree provides immunity to civilians who took to the streets to thwart the coup on the night of July 15, 2016 and the day after, July 16.
The measure has created uncertainties on whether the immunity would be valid for future coup attempts and terror acts, with opposition politicians saying the decree paves way for the emergence of civilian militia groups.
AKP spokesperson Mahir Ünal on Dec. 25 said the immunity solely encompasses the night of the coup attempt and the following morning.