New bill replacing state of emergency security measures introduced

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan introduced a new “anti-terror” bill in Parliament on Monday that replaced security measures enforced during a soon-to-end state of emergency (OHAL), the NTV news website reported.

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) submitted an amendment to existing laws to parliament on July 16 to deal with the “fight against terror” after the state of emergency is lifted. The draft legislation envisages to keep some measures under the state of emergency law up to three more years. The draft bill abolishes martial law in accordance with the new constitution.

A provisional article will be added to the anti-terror law. Detention times for offenses committed against state integrity, organized crime, and terrorist crimes will be implemented differently in the upcoming three years.

Under the proposed new legislation, a suspect can be held without charge for 48 hours or up to four days in the case of collective offenses. But this period could be extended twice maximum, or up to 12 days, if there is difficulty in collecting evidence or if the case is deemed to be particularly voluminous.

Governors will be able to prohibit individuals exiting and entering a defined area for 15 days on security grounds where the public order or safety has deteriorated or there are serious indications that will deteriorate in such a way that will stop or divert daily life. Governors will be able to prohibit carrying and transporting all kinds of weapons and ammunition, even if they are licensed.

According to the bill governors will also be able to ban public gatherings and to reorganize traffic zones on security concerns. Another regulation the bill foresees is that with a court order or a condition deemed an emergency regarding security measures the military is authorized to search a suspect’s person, car, documents and belongings.

For the period of three years, officials of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), police department, gendarmerie, public servant and workers who have been assessed as members of or linked to terrorist organizations, structures, or groups that the National Security Council (MGK) has determined as carrying out actions against the national security of the state will be dismissed from their profession. Those dismissed will not be employed again in the public service, or not be assigned directly or indirectly.

If the court rules for their return to duty, they will be collected in a “pool” and assigned to “research centers” under the Turkish Defense Ministry and Turkish Interior Ministry.

For three more years, the government will continue to appoint trustees for allegedly terrorism-related institutions and companies. Gun licenses and passports of those dismissed or suspended from duty will be canceled. The Interior Ministry will be able to cancel passports of their spouses as well.

The state of emergency, imposed in the wake of the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016, has been extended seven times and tens of thousands have been arrested. Turkish authorities have said no new extension will be sought for the state of emergency as it is due to end after midnight on July 18.

On Monday Turkey’s Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said the state of emergency will end within a few days, on July 19. “However, ending the state of emergency should not be deemed as ending the struggle [against terrorism],” Gül said according to the Hürriyet Daily News.

Speaking at the International Struggle Against the Coup and 15 July Symposium, Gül said, “The state of emergency will end, but the most persistent and most determined fight against all kinds of terrorism, especially FETÖ, will continue until the end.”

“FETÖ” is a derogatory term coined by the ruling AKP to refer to the Gülen movement.

NINE PRESIDENTIAL DECREES REDEFINE AUTHORITIES OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan has issued nine more presidential decrees making extensive changes to public and autonomous institutions, reinstating the State Theaters (DT) and State Opera and Ballet (DOB) after a previous amendment to the relevant laws had been interpreted as abolishing them, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

With the new presidential decrees numbered four to 12 issued on Sunday and Monday, more than 52 institutions were redefined and the structures and authorities of supervisory and financial bodies were changed.

The previous presidential decree abolished all relevant laws concerning the legal status of the DT and DOB, which had been interpreted as having shut down the institutions.

With the new decree, the legal status of the state’s art institutions was reinstated as it is linked to presidential authority and their directors can be appointed from outside the institutions.

The authorities, duties and organizational structure of the State Audit Institution (DDK), which had carried out the auditing of public and private institutions except for the military and the judiciary, were also changed.

The authority of the DDK was redefined as “the supreme inspection body of all audit systems within the state structure.”

The council in the past prepared reports on its subjects and conveyed them to the relevant authorities. With the decree the DDK can now draft reports on disciplinary inspections with the authority to file criminal complaints against officials in private, public and military institutions.

The decree also includes military institutions in the council’s authorities, which used to be outside its supervisory jurisdiction. The General Staff, all service commands, military schools, troops, brigades, the Turkish Armed Forces Foundation and defense industry companies will be within the council’s audit authority.

With the decrees the central bank, Ziraat Bank and Halkbank were linked to Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak.

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK), Capital Markets Board (SPK), Public Oversight Accounting and Auditing Standards Authority and Central Finance and Contracting Unit will also be overseen by Albayrak.

In previous laws the institutions had been related, linked or affiliated with various ministries. With this decree all bodies have been defined as “related” to Albayrak.

Other such institutions include the Revenue Administration and Privatization Administration.

With this decree the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) is now linked to the presidency.

The decree also redefined the higher education board and relevant laws.

According to the new decree rectors will be appointed by the president from among candidates who have more than three years of experience as a professor. 

The annulment of articles related to the qualifications of rectors with a previous decree were also interpreted as an annulment of the requirement of being a professor in order to become a university rector. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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