Stricter police measures don’t contradict EU: Turkish PM

Stricter police measures don’t contradict EU: Turkish PM

Stricter police measures don’t contradict EU: Turkish PM

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Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has outlined 11 pillars of a bill for “domestic security package” that the government will submit to Parliament in the coming days.

“We are making a revolutionary reform,” Davutoğlu said, addressing his parliamentary group on Oct. 21, adding that the reforms - criticized by many as draconian - aim to protect private life, individual rights and freedoms.

The prime minister dismissed criticisms that the draft bill would give too much power to the police and said the legislation aimed at ending the ambiguity over the use in demonstrations of “weapons of violence.”

All measures will be “in line with EU standards and based on universal standards,” he said.

However, all of the proposed reforms, Davutoglu said, must first be approved by the European Union Harmonization Committee in the Turkish Parliament.

The bill would pave the way for harsher penalties for those who resort to violence during demonstrations.

“Every act that turns to violence will be considered a crime,” he said, adding that police would henceforth “treat as potential criminals” all those who cover their face with the intent to commit violence.

“The penalty for possession of weapons, which now ranges from six months to three years, will be increased to 2.5 to four years,” he said.

Police will be authorized to hold violators in custody for up to 24 hours, which prosecutors will be able to extend to 48 hours, according to the package, while suspects will appear in court within four days.
Nobody will be searched “arbitrarily” with the law, but police will use their authorities if there is “strong evidence and intelligence,” he said.

As a measure against any abuse of power by law enforcement forces, the 17-member committee, whose members will be taken from all parties represented in Parliament, will review and evaluate police surveillance actions intended to prevent crime.

In addition, “necessary measures” will be taken individually in the event of a call for violence through social media, the prime minister said.  

However, the government will be able to take further measures in social media if the “act of violence becomes widespread,” Davutoğlu said.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry will take over the personnel assignment responsibility for the Gendarmerie and Coast Guard forces.

The Interior Ministry will be authorized for all issues other than military means, he said, adding that gendarmerie forces would wear a special uniform designated by the Interior Ministry that is more like civilian clothing.

“The Interior Ministry needs to be restructured,” Davutoğlu said.

In line with the reshaping of the government’s self-styled “new Turkey,” there is a need to restructure ministries as well, Davutoğlu stressed in his speech, adding that he had been briefed by all ministries to determine the necessary reforms.

“Those dealing drugs, including bonzai, will be treated like terrorists, and the penalties will double if the crime is committed near schools,” he also vowed.