Ministry of Interior refuses to disclose data on crimes committed by police, nighttime neighborhood watchmen

In response to questions posed by Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Süleyman Bülbül, the Turkish Ministry of Interior has refused to disclose any information about the number of police officers and nighttime neighborhood watchmen who have been investigated or disciplined for battery, mistreatment or abuse of power in the last four years, the BirGün daily reported.

Bülbül’s questions, submitted to the Communications Center of the Presidency (CİMER), were answered by İlhan Karslı, the deputy head of the ministry’s human resources department. In his response Karslı claimed that the questions posed by Bülbül were related to internal personnel matters of the ministry and were not of interest to the general public. In that regard Karslı claimed that the matters were outside the scope of the freedom of information act.

CHP deputy Bülbül said: “We’ve received numerous complaints about brutality on the part of the police and nighttime neighborhood watchmen. … This is not an acceptable response. Investigations urgently need to be made public. The general public has the right to know about these investigations.”

The watchmen were revived by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and began patrolling urban streets in 2017, a year after an attempted coup. The opposition strongly criticized the government giving them the authority to demand that people present identification as well as use force, carry weapons and apprehend suspects.

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