Turkish gov’t denies that new security bill restricts rights

Turkish gov’t denies that new security bill restricts rights

Turkish gov’t denies that new security bill restricts rights

Interior Minister Efkan Ala (C).

Interior Minister Efkan Ala has defended the controversial new security draft, saying it does not restrain citizens’ rights.

The government and the main opposition party’s portrayals of a draft security bill have been in stark contrast, with the latter arguing that it marks a return to the infamous Sept. 12 military coup d’état regime.

Ala claimed on Jan. 12 that there is no provision that restrains citizens’ fundamental rights and freedoms in the package, which proposes an expansion of police powers to search and detain, and which was recently introduced to Parliament.

“Security is a public service that we need for the just use of our fundamental rights and freedoms. We reflected such requirement in our reform package,” Ala said during a speech at a ceremony in Ankara.

At almost the same time, main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Sezgin Tanrıkulu released a written statement, calling on the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to withdraw the bill, which he said was “a fascist attempt aimed at oppressing the society’s democratic demands.”

The package would bring back governors with the authority to suspend law and the use of rights under the Emergency Rule Region (OHAL) between 1987 and November 2002, Tanrıkulu claimed.

“This is an undeclared OHAL project. As much as it is a legal cover for the fascist practices Turkey has faced during the AKP era, the package is also an attempt to revive the Sept. 12 [1980] spirit. In this regard, there is need to state that the AKP has been openly preparing for a new coup,” he said.

In December, Human Rights Watch stated that the draft law proposes to give the highest administrative officer of a province, the governor, authority to assume powers that rightly belong to the prosecutorial authorities.

The draft bill states that: “Where necessary and where there is a need for urgent measures, a governor can give direct orders to the police chief or public officials to shed light on a crime and to find the perpetrators of the crime.”

Because governors are part of the executive branch and are directly appointed by the government in Ankara, allowing them to order police “to shed light on a crime” opens the door to governors directing police investigations, Human Rights Watch had said.

However, Ala denied such claims, describing them as a "logical mistake."

“Whenever an authority is taken from the bureaucracy and given to the political realm, it is said that democracy in Turkey has been harmed,” he said.