Opposition in arms over attempt to alter intel law

Opposition in arms over attempt to alter intel law

ANKARA-Hürriyet Daily News
Opposition in arms over attempt to alter intel law

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu says the special-authority courts with their far-reaching powers are at the core of Turkey’s mounting judicial problems. HDN photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

The opposition yesterday fired at the government in the crisis over the investigation into the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), warning bending the law to forestall the probe would shatter the basic tenets of the state.

Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said the adoption of the bill would “render the state system illegitimate” and urged Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to stop it.

“It seems the prime minister is scared the probe will extend to him. He is about to make the greatest mistake of his political career,” Kılıçdaroğlu told the parliamentary group meeting of his Republican People’s Party (CHP).

Under the draft, which amends Article 26 of the MİT Act, the prime minister’s permission would be required for probes not only into MİT officials but also into any people assigned to “special tasks” by the prime minister.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the bill would allow the prime minister “to set up his own gangs” and act outside the law with impunity, including even an order to kill the president. “You cannot keep a state up on its feet if its security forces and judiciary descend into illegality. That would be the greatest treason,” he said.
“Some would say a prime minister would not engage [in criminal activities]. But he was the one to say that every step I make and every breath I take is being watched,” the CHP leader said, referring to a recent speech by Erdoğan.

Kılıçdaroğlu said the special-authority courts with their far-reaching powers were at the core of Turkey’s mounting judiciary problem and renewed calls for their abolition.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also urged the withdrawal of the draft, which he denounced as “flagrant hypocrisy” after the ruling party condoned the recent arrest of former Chief of General Staff İlker Başbuğ.

The MİT chief must go to the prosecutor to testify, while the prime minister must answer allegations MİT colluded with the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and explain what terms were agreed in talks between MİT and the PKK, Bahçeli said. He questioned why no operation was ever conducted against the KCK until 2009 even though the authorities were aware it had been founded in 2005.

“The AKP has brought Turkey to the brink of break-up. The recent developments show the country is in disarray and the state order has been fundamentally shattered,” Bahçeli grumbled.

The co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Selahattin Demirtaş argued the crisis had exposed a power struggle within the AKP. He urged the government to speak out in support of the MİT and PKK talks.

“If the prosecutors consider the negotiations a crime, this is unacceptable. The government should stand behind the negotiations. Instead, they prefer a rescue operation for the MİT officials,” he said.
Demirtaş called for a special law to create a “peace commission” to conduct talks with all relevant parties in the Kurdish conflict, including PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.