HDP deputy queries cancelation of passports upon July 15 coup attempt
Emine Kart - ANKARAAn opposition party deputy has questioned Turkey’s interior minister over whether there was a possible connection between the declaration of a state of emergency following the July 15 failed coup attempt and the cancelation of a large number of passports, thus limiting freedom to travel.
The motion tabled by Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Adana deputy Meral Danış Beştaş on Aug. 9 contained a series of questions addressed to Interior Minister Efkan Ala.
“What is the reason for the cancelation of passports of all journalists, including Hayko Bağdat, as a preventive measure upon [the] July 15 [failed coup attempt] - as has been conveyed by the police department?” asked Beştaş in her parliamentary question.
“Why have the passports of all journalists been canceled? And which criteria will be taken as a basis for the ‘correction’ [of these cancelations]?’” asked Beştaş.
Armenian journalist Bağdat’s passport was seized by police officers when he arrived in Turkey on the evening of Aug. 6.
“According to the information I have received from the police department, as a preventive measure following the July 15 [coup attempt], the passports of many journalists were canceled. They told me that some of them will be corrected, including the passport of Hayko Bağdat,” main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Selina Doğan told Hürriyet Daily News on Aug. 8.
“Which criteria have been taken as a basis for the solicitors whose passports have been canceled? Other than journalists and lawyers which citizens belonging to which occupational group have had their passports canceled?” Beştaş also asked.
She also questioned if a ban on leaving the country imposed on academics upon the declaration of the state of emergency and the practice concerning the seizure of citizens’ passports were a result of “a similar decision and will.”
The state of emergency allows the president and cabinet to bypass parliament when drafting new laws and restrict or suspend rights and freedoms.
On July 20, speaking at his presidential palace in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed that “all the viruses within the [Turkish] Armed Forces [TSK] will be cleansed.”
Extra powers were needed to protect Turkey’s democracy, Erdoğan said, while criticizing Western nations which accused his government of overreaching in its efforts to root out opponents.
“The aim is to rapidly and effectively take all steps needed to eliminate the threat against democracy, the rule of law and the people’s rights and freedoms,” said the president.
“This measure is in no way against democracy, the law and freedoms,” he also said at the time. “On the contrary, it aims to protect and strengthen them.”