After State of Emergency Rule, a proposal for permanent ‘Emergency’ legislation comes to Parliament

After State of Emergency Rule is lifted, a new draft bill has been prepared that entitles sweeping authorization to the appointed provincial governors and the duration of custody will be extended for detainees “on the grounds of preventing terrorism”. Further limitations for rallies and marches will be introduced and dismissals from profession will continue.

After the end of State of Emergency Rule on July 18th, “draft bill to prevent weakness in struggle against terrorism” have been submitted to Turkish Grand National Assembly. The draft bill has been discussed on Thursday at the Parliamentary Committee on Justice. With the draft bill which has been prepared “on the grounds of allowing no vulnerability during struggle against terrorism,” the dismissal-authorization that influenced the lives of over 100.000 people on the basis of a cabinet decision taken in a session chaired by the President during the State of Emergency Rule, has been entitled directly to the ministers for a period of three years. The duration of custody for the collective crimes specifically which are limited with “crimes of coup and/or terrorism” can be extended up to 12 days on the condition of “being heard by a judge”. In individual crimes, duration can be extended up to 6 days.

The restriction on issuing & withholding of passports will continue as it has been during State of Emergency Rule. Thus, the administrative measures acted by the state of emergency decrees which affected the lives of thousands of citizens will continue for another 3 years. AKP chair & President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Nationalist Movement Party MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli had come to an agreement on ending the State of Emergency Rule at their first meeting after the elections; however MHP had demanded that some arrangement that had been done during the State of Emergency Rule should “be legitimized” on the grounds of “still existing terrorism threat in Turkey”. Draft bill was submitted by the governing party to the Speaker’s Office in the parliament. The draft bill consists of 25 articles. Mainly, the laws on Turkish Armed Forces’ Internal Services, Provincial Administrations, Coast Guard Command, Gendarmerie Forces’ Duties and Authorities, and Turkish Criminal Code, etc., have had some new arrangements in their articles as the content of the proposal which has been inspired and patterned after the French anti-terror law model. In these arrangements, broadly strengthened authorities have been entitled to the ‘relevant executives’. The arrangements in the proposal are as follows:


The first article of the regulation, have recognized governors’ authority for “restrictions for entrances and exits to cities in certain areas, that does not exceed 15 days, in cases that there are serious indications for interruption or disruption of public order and security which make impossible to sustain or to stop normal life activities”. Nevertheless, governors can regulate or limit the mobility or assembly of people or vehicles at specific districts and times. Also, they can prohibit possession and transportation of any type of fire arms and ammunition, even if they might be licensed.


The draft bill is redefining the ‘military zones & districts’. Accordingly, all private properties belonging to the people at these military districts and zones including body-search, vehicle-search, personal belongings and documents can be searched on grounds of ‘preserving evidence of crimes’, upon orders given by the authorized Justice of Peace or the military commander of that particular district or zone. For people who are found “guilty,” relevant decrees of Criminal Procedure Law will be enforced.


‘X-ray door obligation’ has been announced for the military districts and zones, including for privates, at the entrances and exits. Superiors of those people can search them by metal detectors in case of a warning signal from the x-ray door.


The draft bill enables the “body and belongings searches for privates and petty officers” in headquarters and service buildings of Gendarmerie and Coast Guards upon orders of an authorized Justice of Peace and the commanding officer or institutional impeditive in case that a “non-delayable situation” occurs.


The draft bill also contains modifications in “Law on Rallies and Demonstrations”. Accordingly, a ‘time limit’ has been introduced with statement added “the meetings and rallies in outdoors will disperse by the beginning of night-time”. The time limit for the meetings in indoors has been re-adjusted as “00.00”. The time limit of meetings and rallies can only be extended until 00.00 o’clock, on conditions of “without causing extreme and unbearable difficulties for citizens’ repose in sereneness and tranquility , and without disturbing public order & security”.


Any authorized commander in a district or zone has to seek permission for being “able to prosecute” in the draft bill. Accordingly, the permission will be granted by the President for prosecuting Vice President and ministers, for deputies by the Parliament, for generals and admirals by the Chief of General Staff, for deputy ministers by the ministers, for the governors and mayors by the Ministry of Interior.


Law-enforcement officers will call out a suspect for a new testimony upon orders from public prosecutor. Any objections against detention and petitions for release will be resolved on the content of case file. The petitions for release will be resolved at latest within the following 30 days. The computers of a suspect which could previously be searched upon a warrant of a judge, can be executed by the order of a prosecutor.


Searches at military districts and zones can be performed by “judicial police under supervision of a public prosecutor and participation of military authorities”.


The dismissal authorization which had been brought to life by the cabinet decision chaired by the President, during the 2 years long State of Emergency Rule, will be executed with the approval of one minister who is responsible to the President if the proposal is approved in the parliament. The dismissal authorization of the ministers will continue for another 3 years. The dismissal of soldiers will require the approval of the Ministry of National Defense.


The draft bill will neglect “the right to compensation” of people who are able to return to their jobs after being dismissed during State of Emergency.


An obligation for higher education institutions to inform HEC about instructors who are dismissed from public service is brought up in the draft bill. In case of a decision on the return to their posts, their re-assignment to the previous personnel cadre and position will be principally accepted yet the acceptance will not be applied entirely for deputy directors and equal or higher administrators. Earlier personnel cadre and positions of these administrators will be taken into consideration. In addition; the proposal for the assignments submitted to the HEC will be executed by giving priority to higher education institutions that had been established in 2006 or after, excluding those in Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir provinces.


According to the constitution, the 48 hours limit of the duration of custody for collective crimes had first been extended to 30 days during the State of Emergency Rule and then had been reduced to 14 days. Along with legislative proposal, the limit for the collective crimes in the constitution has been extended to 4 days yet it can be extended twice on the condition that defendant should be “heard by a judge,” thus the duration of custody can reach up to 12 days. As for the individual crimes, the 2-days time limit in the constitution could be extended by twice, again with the condition of “heard by a judge;” thus the total time limit can reach up to 6 days. With the approval of the proposal, the new arrangement for the limits of the duration of custody will be effective for 3 years. This arrangement has contradiction with the constitution’s decree on “48 hours for individual crimes, 4 days for collective crimes”. Despite the article in the constitution states that “No one shall be deprived of his/her liberty except in the following cases where procedure and conditions are prescribed by law”, the new arrangements make possible to extend the duration of custody 2 times on the basis of a the judge’s decision and the government argues, “due to presence of judge’s decision, there is no contradiction to the constitution”.


Authorization for limitations against passports of the people who were dismissed with their family members during the State of Emergency Rule will continue for another 3 years with the new draft bill. According to this, the passports of civil servants who were dismissed by the approval of minister of interior who is solely responsible to the President, and his/her spouses can be cancelled by the minister of interior for another 3 years.


With the draft bill, MIT has been exempted from the “Freedom of Information Act” is ensured. Accordingly, any information on the MIT’s activities will not be accessed or announced”. In addition, there will be no “mediation procedure” to be followed in any legally disputed issue. All activities of the Board of Information and Inspection had already been exempted during the State of Emergency Rule from the requirements and alignments of Freedom of Information Act.


The deputy-chair of Justice and Development Party AKP, Bülent Turan commented before the submission of the proposal on the new legislative arrangements to be conducted after the lifting of State of Emergency, to the Parliament. Turan stated that “All we desire is that, the tug against terrorism during the State of Emergency Rule to be sustained with the very same dedication”. Turan also stated, “the State of Emergency is going to be removed from Turkey’s agenda on 18th of July. Meanwhile, we have prepared a legislative proposal which enables us to sustain some precautionary measures within the framework of fundamentals of universal judicial system adopted by the international laws with particular emphasis on those acted in Europe”. Turan said, “with a little exception, we would like to state that these are all constitutional. All of these have a time limit. It does not mean that a law would be effective forever, we are talking about a time period that would not exceed 3 years” by emphasizing that they took a democratic step after the State of Emergency and returned at the previous laws.

Source: Cumhuriyet



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