Concern in Turkey over new detention law

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 18:22

Ankara: As the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan becomes increasingly authoritarian, and assumes more and more powers, there is mounting concern in Turkey over a new law that will allow police to detain from 12 to 24 hours without any court order people who pose the "risk of conducting a protest".

The new law will be implemented jointly by the country`s justice and interior ministries, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

According to the report, the government promulgated the regulation to strengthen the police after countrywide protests in May this year after the eviction of a sit-in protest in Istanbul`s Taksim square, the epicentre of the protesters.

Organisations which tend to stage protest rallies will be monitored and judges will have the power to extend the detention of people under the new law to beyond 24 hours.

"These attempts might drag the country into chaos. The governments who attempt to do that will end in vain," Semih Yalçin, deputy leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP in short in Turkish) told the daily, adding that the move showed signs of turning the country into a "police state".

Ali Serindag, a leader of the main opposition Republican People`s Party (CHP in short in Turkish), said the regulation did not comply with the rule of law.

"Giving the security forces such an authority without the permission of a prosecutor does not comply with rule of law... Besides, the police must be well trained in intervening against demonstrations," he was quoted as saying.

"Now you can be detained just for being you even though you didn`t attend any protest," another CHP leader, Ilhan Cihaner, said.

According to the new regulation, anybody who possesses Molotov cocktails can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP in short in Turkish) has come under criticism in recent times for trying to implement a "democracy package" in the country.

In an article in the daily, columnist Nuray Mert wrote that it was the AKP that needed more democracy "to be able to `govern` a complex and conflict ridden society".

"And the success of the `democracy package` is more important for the government than anybody else," she added.

Erdogan, in power for 10 years, is stated to be keen to run for president in August 2014, but with more powers.

First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 18:22
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