Former Turkish president Gül advises gov’t to revise security bill

Former Turkish president Gül advises gov’t to revise security bill

Former Turkish president Gül advises gov’t to revise security bill

DHA Photo

The controversial security bill that has ramped up the tension in Turkish politics in recent weeks should be revised, former President Abdullah Gül has said, advising his former party colleagues to “correct” some of its articles, especially on the extra authorities granted to the police.

“I want to say this openly: I advise the government, my friends, to revise this [security package]. I believe there need to be some corrections. Common sense is needed. The issues related to security should not be considered related to the conjuncture,” Gül told reporters in Istanbul on Feb. 20.

“I hope my friends will revise this bill. I advise them to make some amendments on it,” he said.

The new powers given to the police are problematic, Gül added, recalling how the police had abused its authority in wiretapping in the recent past.

Toward the end of his presidency, before he was replaced by current President Tayyip Erdoğan, Gül veered from the AKP’s official position on a number of pieces of legislation, particularly those restricting freedom of communication and expression. As the presidency is not currently an executive position, he ended up signing many of them into law even without amendments.

No looming candidacy

Meanwhile, Gül also touched on the issue of whether he would run for parliament in the upcoming general elections scheduled for June. “It’s too early for this, or at least there is no demand or climate for this,” he said.

“I tried to stay above political parties during my presidency. But I also said I would return to my party. I am the founder of this party and also one of those who started this movement. I also led the reformist works of my party. What does this mean? It means I will support the work of my friends,” he added.

On the much-discussed presidential system that Erdoğan wants Turkey to adopt, Gül struck a note of caution, underlining the need to preserve the system of checks and balances, “like in the United States.”

“What kind of presidential system [are we talking about]? This is very important. It should not be a Turkish-style presidential system,” he said, apparently challenging Erdoğan’s recent statements that the government would build a system unique to Turkey.

Gül also said he would soon be moving from the Huber Palace in Istanbul, which belongs to the presidency, to his own home.

“Everyone knows I have paid all the costs of the Huber Palace. Those who know me are aware just how sensitive I am on these issues,” he added.