Intel bill ‘not licence to kill’

Intel bill ‘not licence to kill’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Intel bill ‘not licence to kill’

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says they will go to the Constitutional Court, if the intelligence bill is signed into law. ‘The bill is a great risk for democracy. It would plunge the state into illegality,’ he said yesterday.

The main opposition vowed yesterday to ask the Constitutional Court to scrap a bill intended to shield intelligence officials from prosecution, while the government mulled changes in the draft to narrow its scope.

“If the bill is signed into law, we will naturally go to the Constitutional Court. The bill is a great risk for democracy. It would plunge the state into illegality,” Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said on NTV television.

Stepping back in the face of objection, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) was considering revisions to the wording of the bill, as well as the scope of protection it would provide. Changes are likely to indicate that those who have protection while carrying out “special tasks” would be not be just anybody, but “public officials assigned to certain non-operational duties,” Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said.

However, Kılıçdaroğlu recalled that the Constitutional Court decided unanimously to cancel a similar arrangement in 2005.

The amendment to the act regulating the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), drafted hastily to forestall an investigation into MİT chief Hakan Fidan and other officials, has come under fire for stipulating that the prime minister’s permission would be required to investigate not only MİT members but also those the prime minister assigns to a “special task.” Critics argue the bill would allow the PM to order acts outside the law.

The draft was to hit Parliament floor late yesterday, after the Hürriyet Daily News went to print.
MİT chief Fidan and four others were summoned for questioning last week on claims that MİT colluded with the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban extention of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The fact that all five have been involved in peace talks with the PKK sparked concern that the prosecutors were targeting government policies on the Kurdish issue. About a dozen policemen have since been removed from the investigation.

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin yesterday gave the go-ahead for a preliminary investigation into prosecutor Sadrettin Sarıkaya, who had summoned the MİT officials but was also removed from the probe, Anatolia news agency reported. The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) will investigate Sarıkaya on charges that he breached the secrecy of the probe by leaking documents to the media.

In further comments yesterday, Kılıçdaroğlu said there was no concrete evidence to confirm suggestions that the MİT crisis was the result of a power struggle between the AKP and the influential Islamic community of Fethullah Gülen, which is said to control key positions in the police and the judiciary.