Turkish Parliament approves bill on terror financing
ANKARA - Anatolia News Agency
Heated debates continued on Feb. 7 during the discussion of the anti-terror bill in the Turkish Parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies and members of the opposition parties engaged in verbal scuffles. AA photoThe much debated bill on the prevention of terrorism financing was passed by Parliament on Feb. 7. The reform is aimed at avoiding Turkey's possible demotion on Feb. 22 to the "black list" of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental action group established to combat international money laundering and terrorist financing.
The bill had been on the agenda of Parliament since the government submitted it to Parliament's Justice Commission on Oct. 21, 2011. The opposition parties had strongly resisted the bill. Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmakers said the government-authorized commission that has been authorized with the bill would be able to freeze the financial assets of all dissident media outlets, associations, companies, labor unions, political parties, business people, foundations and trade bodies. The Peace and Democracy Party argued that the law intended to hamper Kurdish business people.
However, Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek rebuffed suggestions that the bill aimed to put pressure on public opposition, stressing that as part of current legislation individuals residing in Turkey were already being tried if they are alleged to be financing terrorist organizations. He said the new regulation did not introduce anything new for Turkish citizens residing in Turkey.