Turkish PM pledges police force will balance freedom and security

Turkish PM pledges police force will balance freedom and security

Turkish PM pledges police force will balance freedom and security

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Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has emphasized the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between freedom and security, as he pledged his government would protect the freedoms of the Turkish people without jeopardizing their security.

Davutoğlu’s remarks came on the 170th foundation anniversary of the National Police Department during a speech at a ceremony held at a police academy on April 10.

“The police department is not the organization of this circle nor that circle… It is the organization of the Turkish nation and it approaches all members of our nation in the same way; it considers protecting their honor, within the same framework of human honor, as its fundamental mission,” Davutoğlu said. 

In the course of a corruption scandal that rocked the government late in 2013, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, then-prime minister, had accused supporters of his former ally turned arch-enemy, U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen, of a plot against him that implicated members of Erdoğan’s inner circle.

The Turkish government has since purged thousands of Gülen’s followers from the police and the judiciary.

“The state of the Republic of Turkey is a contemporary state governed by the rule of law and based on human rights and freedoms. Under no condition and no matter the justification, we do not engage in activity that harms human honor,” Davutoğlu said, speaking only days after Erdoğan approved the government-led controversial homeland security bill, which grants more powers to the police and governors, despite objection from opposition parties.

“Providing security without sacrificing freedoms and protecting freedoms without jeopardizing security is our most fundamental political principle,” the prime minister said. 

The bill regulating the authority of the police, which was renamed the “Legal Package to Protect Freedoms” by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), had triggered fist-fights in parliament during its debate in February.