Turkish gov’t remains open to revising security bill, amid opposition objections
Nuray Babacan ANKARA
AA PhotoThe government is considering revising four out of eight articles in the controversial domestic security bill according to proposals from opposition parties, but has rejected making changes to the four other articles objected.
“We expect rational proposals from the opposition,” ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chair Naci Bostancı told reporters on March 6.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) wants to change 16 articles, while the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has asked to renegotiate the entire bill. For its part, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has rejected the proposal to bring the gendarmerie under the control of the Interior Ministry.
Although none of these proposals have been conveyed to the AKP in written form yet, it has carried out a study of the articles that could be revised.
The AKP is determined not to take any step back on articles giving police the authority to apply “preemptive detention for prevention” during protests. The government is also insistent on bringing the gendarmerie under the control of the Interior Ministry.
The article giving authority to police chiefs, who are assigned by provincial governors, to order car or body searches, bypassing judges and prosecutors in the process, is also not open to debate, the AKP has stated.
The ruling party also plans no changes in the article that will allow that police to use arms against those who “use or attempt to use Molotov cocktails.”
The law currently gives the police the right to detain a person if they are directly caught in the act of using Molotov cocktails.
The new bill also allows police to hold individuals in custody for 24 hours without seeing a judge. This period could be extended to 48 hours if the police deem that there is a “collective crime” involved. AKP executives say the new bill’s time limit of 48 hours for “preventative detention” could be decreased to 24 hours, while the time limit for intelligence wiretapping without a judge’s permission for 48 hours could be decreased to 24 hours.
The government has signaled that is flexible about giving less power to administrative officials such as governors for the use of publicly-owned vehicles for public order and security, and reducing penalties for individuals who do not comply with measures taken in order to maintain public order.
HDP Deputy Group Chair Pervin Buldan announced on March 4 that her party has agreed with the government on amending 16 key articles of the controversial domestic security bill.
“Some amendments will be made to the internal security package. There are some articles we particularly oppose. We are preparing proposals about these and we will submit these proposals to the AKP,” Buldan said.
Buldan’s statement came after remarks from HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, who insisted on the withdrawal of the package as a condition of the Kurdish peace process negotiations continuing.