Opposition leaders say PM turning Turkey into intelligence state

ANKARA (CIHAN)- The leaders of the two opposition parties have argued that the draft law on the National Intelligence Organization (MIT)ontains very problematic articles and it seeks to turn Turkey into an intelligence state.

“The prime minister is dragging Turkey into becoming an intelligence state. He is taking measures to protect himself and cover up crimes committed so far by MIT,” said Devlet Bahçeli, chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), when addressing his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday.

According to Bahçeli, the draft law gives extraordinary powers to MIT.

“The law is problematic from head to toe. The prime minister will control all of Turkey with a MIT regime he is planning to establish. He will wiretap and profile everyone,” he cautioned.

The MIT bill is being discussed in Parliament. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) wants the bill to be passed by the legislature this week. The opposition parties are, however, cold to the bill. The parties have already declared that they would not join an alliance with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan’s AK Party to adopt the bill in Parliament. The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said it would take the law to the Constitutional Court for annulment if it is passed.

Under the bill, MIT will be allowed to conduct operations against possible threats overseas. In addition, the organization will be authorized to wiretap phone conversations overseas upon the orders of the undersecretary or his aide. MIT will also have unfettered access to the archives and databases of every ministry and will be able to collect any data on citizens. What is more, the law requires private companies to hand over consumer data and technical equipment to MIT when requested.

Bahçeli also said Prime Minister ErdoIan sees the MIT bill as an “opportunity to masque his illegal and immoral activities,” which include the Oslo talks — a series of meetings held secretly between senior Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operatives and MIT officials in Oslo in 2010 in an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the country’s Kurdish problem aiding terrorist groups close to Turkey’s borders and following a foreign policy that runs contrary to Turkey’s interests.

The MHP leader also spoke against an article in the draft which gives MIT the right to hold talks with all groups, including terrorist organizations that pose a threat to national security. An article provides legal grounds for the Oslo talks. Bahçeli said the legal grounds for the Oslo talks are an “attack and hostility toward the future and security of the Republic of Turkey.”

Also on Tuesday, CHP Chairman Kemal KIlIçdaroIlu gave a speech at his party’s parliamentary group meeting in which he said Turkey will quickly become an intelligence state if the MIT draft is adopted. “The state cannot be governed with intelligence. It is governed with knowledge, moral values and respect for the law,” he said, and claimed that the AK Party government, under the MIT draft, is planning to establish an intelligence network similar to the Gestapo, Nazi Germany’s murderous secret police.

The MIT draft law introduces severe penalties for obtaining and publishing MIT documents. If a person obtains, leaks or forges a confidential MIT document, he can face a prison sentence of between four and 10 years. If a person obtains and publishes a document related to MIT members, he faces between three and seven years’ imprisonment. If this publication makes its way in the print or visual media, the sentence will then be increased to up to 12 years.

The CHP leader signaled that his party would fight against the adoption of the MIT law in Parliament.

“We will defend the rule of law and freedoms. We will make a revolution of freedoms and democracy. We will naturally be faced with pressure. But we just need one thing: to work. If we work, we will be successful. We will be successful if we fight. Our grandfathers and fathers fought for a better Turkey. And we will do the same to leave a better Turkey to our children,” he stated.

According to the draft law, if prosecutors receive a tip-off about MIT officials or affiliates, they will initially seek the organization’s opinion about the authenticity of the tip. If MIT says the tip concerns a duty or operation of the organization, then prosecutors will not be able to launch an investigation. In addition, prosecutors will not be able to investigate claims against MIT officials coming from unidentified individuals or individuals using fake names.
‘New law to leave MIT uncontrolled’

–Former prosecutor Nurullah AydIn has said the MIT draft law will leave the intelligence agency totally uncontrolled.

According to AydIn, who spoke with Today’s Zaman, Turkey will speedily move toward becoming a “Mukhabarat [intelligence] state” if the MIT draft is adopted in Parliament.

AydIn said spying will be a popular profession in Turkey if the MIT draft law is adopted.

“There are several intelligence agencies and a broad network of spying that work under the roof of a big intelligence organization in a Mukhabarat state. This network of spying is an area of employment for a huge number of spies. With the MIT law, spying will be a popular profession as many people will be employed as agents, spies, intelligence officials and whistleblowers,” he noted.

According to AydIn, while both the military and judiciary are controlled and monitored in the country, MIT will be left uncontrolled due to broad powers to be vested in the intelligence agency with the draft law. “Individuals, state agencies and nongovernmental organizations will be placed under the control of MIT. This will bring with it a change in the regime. Turkey will evolve into an intelligence regime in which MIT will become an untouchable, unaccountable and uncontrolled organization.”

Deputy Prime Minister BeIir Atalay told reporters on Tuesday that a commission will be established in Parliament to control the activities of MIT. “We will add an article to the MIT draft. A commission will be established in Parliament to monitor the activities of MIT,” he stated.(CihanToday’s Zaman)

SHOTLIST
TURKEY, ANKARA, 15 APR 2014

VAR of Nationalist Movement Party leader Bahçeli’s statements

TURKEY, ANKARA, 15 APR 2014

Audience
VAR of CHP leader KIlIçdaroIlu’s statements

DURATION: 02:30

SOURCE: CIHAN