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Turkey passes anti-terrorism law to replace state of emergency

Thursday, 26 July, 2018 - 14:23

The Turkish Parliament has adopted a controversial new “anti-terrorist” law, which incorporates several measures of the state of emergency imposed after the failed coup of July 2016.

The Justice and Development Party (AKP), the majority party that presented this text to Parliament, defended its plan as necessary to avoid a “slowdown” in the fight against “terrorist groups” after the state emergency was lifted last week.

But critics accuse the government of wanting to extendthe state of emergency with this law that significantly strengthens the powers of the authorities.

The text contains several measures that appear to be inspired by the state of emergency, such as the possibility for the authorities to continue to dismiss officials linked to “terrorist groups” for another three years.

In addition, public administrators appointed during the state of emergency at the head of companies suspected of links with a “terrorist organization” could remain in place for another three years.

Other measures include the prohibition of demonstrations and gatherings  after sunset, unless special permission has been granted. Local authorities may restrict access to certain areas and in some cases custody may last up to 12 days.

The adoption of this law comes a week after the lifting of the state of emergency that was introduced a few days after the coup attempt from July 15 to 16, 2016.

Ankara blames the coup attempt on preacher Fethullah Gülen, who has been living in the United States for 20 years and denies any involvement.

As part of this state of emergency, the Turkish authorities have for two years carried out a relentless hunt for the coup plotters and their suspected supporters, but have also targeted pro-Kurdish opponents accused of “terrorism”, critical media and civil society associations.

Since the coup, nearly 80,000 people suspected of links to the coup or “terrorism” have been detained, and more than 150,000 civil servants have been fired or suspended.

Shortly before the MPs vote on Wednesday, the Interior Ministry lifted the revocation of the passports of more than 155,000 people who had been deprived of their travel documents under the state of emergency on the grounds that they were married to a suspect.


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