Gov’t to pass controversial security bill with settlement process on shaky ground

A leading ruling party figure has said that two articles of a much-criticized security bill that must be passed for the previously accepted 67 articles of the bill to become law will be brought before Parliament on Thursday. Mustafa ElitaI, parliamentary group deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said on Wednesday that they would bring the remaining articles of the domestic security bill before Parliament for discussion.

ElitaI’s stat

A leading ruling party figure has said that two articles of a much-criticized security bill that must be passed for the previously accepted 67 articles of the bill to become law will be brought before Parliament on Thursday.

Mustafa ElitaI, parliamentary group deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said on Wednesday that they would bring the remaining articles of the domestic security bill before Parliament for discussion.

ElitaIand#39s statement came shortly after President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan criticized some steps the government was preparing to take as part of a settlement process launched to resolve the countryand#39s long-standing Kurdish issue and terrorism problem

ErdoIan said no further steps should be taken in the process before the outlawed Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party (PKK) started to lay down their arms, as was previously agreed.

The Turkish military exchanged fire with PKK militants in southeastern Turkey on Wednesday in what is now a rare event since the settlement process was launched at the end of 2012, raising doubts about the future of the process.

Several hours before ElitaIand#39s statement, Deputy Prime Minister YalandccedilIn AkdoIan also criticized the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP) as well as the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU, over remarks targeting ErdoIan with regard to the settlement process, saying that ErdoIan is the architect of the process and his stance on it is of vital importance regarding how the process will proceed.

If the two articles, which deal with enforcement and the date the bill will come into effect, are passed as expected since the AK Party enjoys a clear majority in Parliament, the bill will be referred to the Presidentand#39s office for approval, after which it will enter into force once published in the Official Gazette.

The bill has been much-criticized by the opposition for dealing a blow to democracy and fundamental freedoms such as the right to life, protest and privacy.

The bill, which Parliament began to discuss at the beginning of last month, gives police officers the authority to detain anyone on the street who is considered to be a public disturbance or a threat to security or private property.

The police in Turkey cannot, under current legislation, detain a person without a prosecutorand#39s permission. But if the bill passes, the police will be able to keep a person in custody for 24 hours when caught in the act of committing a crime.

But in cases of mass demonstrations, the detention period extends to 48 hours for the police.

The bill has also been severely criticized by the opposition for giving the police more extensive authority to use their weapons.

The bill allows police officers to shoot at protesters in order to prevent them from harming property, while according to current legislation, police officers are only authorized to gradually increase the use of force in order to prevent a crime.

If the police are granted such powers, they will be able to shoot and kill a person using a Molotov cocktail, for example, instead of being limited to using less force or less harmful measures, such as tear gas.

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SOURCE: Today’s Zaman