No changes will be made to decree on impunity to civilians who thwarted coup attempt: Turkish PM

No changes will be made to decree on impunity to civilians who thwarted coup attempt: Turkish PM

ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
No changes will be made to decree on impunity to civilians who thwarted coup attempt: Turkish PM

The state of emergency decree granting immunity to civilians who take part in suppressing coup attempts will not be changed, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said, insisting that the decree will only apply to those who took part in the July 15, 2016 coup attempt and the day after, July 16.

“There will be no amendments. There is no problem with its wording,” Yıldırım told journalists on Dec. 27.

His comments came after the government received criticisms for providing blanket immunity to civilians who took part in suppressing the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, which frees them from criminal liability.

Article number 121 of the decree number 696 covers “those who have acted within the framework of defeating the coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and terrorist actions that followed it in its aftermath, regardless of whether they have an official title or they are fulfilling an official duty.”

But opposition groups criticized the article for indicating that it covered “following events,” saying that it was vaguely-worded and can be open to interpretations.

Former President Abdullah Gül also joined the criticisms, saying that the wording was “ambiguous.”

“The ambiguity in the wording of decree number 696, which is incompatible with legal terminology, is worrisome with regards to the understanding of the state of law. I hope that it will be revised in order to prevent problems that can upset us all from happening in the future,” Gül said on his Twitter account on Dec. 25.

Yıldırım responded to Gül saying: “There is nothing wrong with the wording of the decree.”

“There will be no revision,” he added.

Reminding that the law regulating the state of emergency procedures was legislated by the first state of emergency decrees, numbered 667 and 668, Yıldırım said the new article is using the same terminology as the previous decree.

“The regulation that was made during the coup period had never been discussed, but a small change, which gives protection to civilians who have fought against the putschists and the coup, is being discussed. Why was a problem that was not on the agenda that day is now being brought to the agenda?” Yıldırım said.

“The regulation is aimed at protecting the citizens who ran to the streets, laid down their lives [for Turkey] to prevent the coup and events right after it,” he said, adding that objecting to it now would be the same as asking them why the fought against the coup.

Unity in rhetoric within AKP

The AKP decided to form a “unity in rhetoric” after AKP lawmaker Burhan Kuzu stated on Dec. 26 on his official Twitter account that the article “will also protect civilians who will fight if another coup attempt happens.”

Kuzu’s words stirred more debate at a time when AKP officials are insisting that the article only covers the two days of the coup attempt, July 15 and July 16.

The AKP management then warned its members to follow the official stance of the article.

Kuzu later erased his post and kept posts about how the article applies to civilians who fought on the night of July 15.

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