Intelligence bill introduced by Turkish gov't infuriates opposition
Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) Oktay Vural speaks at the Parliament.Opposition parties at Parliament agree on the dangerous potential results of a new bill introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that would significantly strengthen the powers of Turkey’s national intelligence body.
The content of the bill presented to the Parliament Speaker’s Office on Feb. 19 prompted opposition parties to liken the would-be-system to what the Syrian regime has been practicing for decades. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s “mukhabarat,” or secret police, is a blanket term for an array of sometimes overlapping and mutually mistrustful security services.
According to the main opposition Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) deputy parliamentary group chair, Engin Altay, the bill is yet another item of armor for the government to defend the corruption it has been involved in. Altay was apparently referring to the huge graft probe launched in mid-December that involves former ministers and businesspersons close to the AKP.
“The prime minister must have remembered his days with his old friend al-Assad, so he has brought this MİT proposal onto the agenda,” Altay said.
The Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) deputy parliamentary group chair, Oktay Vural, called the presentation of such a comprehensive bill by just two deputies a “scandal.”
“Will the MİT rule here? Will a bureaucratic oligarchy rule here?” Vural asked. “This is a bill that is presented in the form of ‘national will’ by those who want to turn Turkey into a mukhabarat state.”
He said the freedoms of each citizen and each civil society organization in Turkey were currently under threat, also alluding to the Syrian regime. “It is extremely reminiscent of the understanding of Baathist regimes,” Vural said.
Noting that she had yet to review the bill in detail, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Deputy Parliamentary Group Chair Pervin Buldan underlined the importance of the relations between the bill and the Kurdish peace process, in which MİT has a central role.
“We won’t say ‘yes’ to any legal arrangement that will not ensure the process,” Buldan said.
Ertuğrul Kürkçü, the co-leader of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which is the sister-party of the BDP, suggested that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wanted to rule every institution of the country.
“Since we already know that the prime minister is the mayor, the justice minister and the chief prosecutor of Turkey, we also understand that he wants to be the MİT chief too. It is for sure that this bill is designed accordingly,” Kürkçü said.