Security bill must be in strict adherence to universal rights and freedoms: EU

Security bill must be in strict adherence to universal rights and freedoms: EU

Serkan Demirtaş ANKARA
Security bill must be in strict adherence to universal rights and freedoms: EU

DHA Photo

Measures to be taken to increase the security of citizens must be in full compliance with universal fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as European standards, a senior EU official has said, calling on the Turkish government to set up an independent and genuine law enforcement monitoring mechanism.

“Increasing the security of citizens is a legitimate aim, but this must be accomplished in strict adherence to universal fundamental rights and freedoms and European standards,” Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman to the European Commission’s commissioner responsible for enlargement, Johannes Hahn, told the Hürriyet Daily News in a written reply to questions on the much-discussed government-drafted security bill.

The 132-article “Home Security Package” is expected to be brought to parliament next week after two postponements, amid strong criticism from the all three opposition parties that argue the draft law is another step to turning Turkey into a “police state.” Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu defended the security bill in his parliamentary group meeting on Feb. 10, again stressing that the package is not in violation of EU standards.

“I challenge once again from here: Show us just one article that violates EU standards. Show just one clause that is against universal democratic standards. They can’t. Because we have studied each and every clause in detail. We have shown sensitivity in order not to deviate from universal standards,” Davutoğlu said.

Johannes Hahn’s spokeswoman, Kocijancic, did not directly specify on whether the security bill was in line with EU standards, but chose to cite progress reports issued by the EU in recent years. 

“The Commission’s progress reports on Turkey have in recent years pointed to the need for proper oversight, both judicial and non-judicial, over the actions of the police. Insufficiencies in this respect have translated into de facto immunity in a number of cases of violence and ill-treatment, notably due to the absence of prompt, thorough, independent investigations into the actions of law enforcement officers. This calls for the setting up of a genuine, independent law enforcement monitoring mechanism,” she said.

“The Commission continues to stand ready to assist and advise Turkey in its efforts to ensure that human rights, notably the right of life, the right to freedom of assembly, and the right to respect for private life, will be safeguarded,” Kocijancic added.

No consultation with EU sought

The last point Kocijancic made is particularly important, as diplomatic sources in Ankara have expressed frustration with Turkish government officials for not seeking consultations with the European Commission on the bill, contrary to earlier claims by some Turkish leaders. The Commission has therefore been unable to contribute to the forming of this very important piece of legislation.
One diplomatic source described the security bill that the Turkish government has endorsed as a “patchwork,” containing clauses from similar laws from various European countries.

“The clauses and articles that the Turkish government has selected are the most restrictive and tough ones. The general spirit of the bill is not in compliance with the EU standards,” they said.

Data protection bill also problematic

Not only is the security bill problematic, but the new draft law on individuals’ data protection is also not in line with EU norms either, sources say.

The data protection law is particularly important for joint action in the fight against terrorism, especially in efforts to stop the flow of foreign fighters from Europe to Syria via Turkey. The EU is seeking the establishment of an independent board as part of data protection, but the institution proposed by the draft law will serve under the Justice Ministry.