Turkish Parliament approves controversial judiciary bill

Turkish Parliament approves controversial judiciary bill

Turkish Parliament approves controversial judiciary bill

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A controversial judiciary bill that had stirred angry debates about measures allowing searches to be conducted on the basis of mere “reasonable doubt,” without any concrete evidence, has been passed by Parliament.

The judiciary bill that amends the law of criminal procedure (CMK) and the Turkish criminal code (TCK) has aroused concerns that EU membership candidate Turkey is becoming a police state, but was approved by Parliament’s General Assembly late on Dec. 2 with 211 votes “for” and 17 votes “against."

The bill makes changes in the “search regarding the suspect or inductee” article of the CMK, allowing “reasonable doubt” to be a justification to search a suspect or inductee, their belongings, house and work place, rather than the “concrete evidence” that was needed before.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Group Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal said the “reasonable doubt” clause was not new and had existed until six months ago.

“Instead of [reasonable doubt], we brought the notion of strong doubt resting upon concrete evidence. We can’t say ‘Parliament is naturally making 100 percent correct regulations.’ We are trying to do the best, most correct, most accurate thing [with these regulations], according to social reflexes,” Ünal said, stressing that “the reasonable doubt clause does not diminish freedoms.”