Turkey-Bosnia security agreement raises concerns on rights and freedoms: report


Turkey and Bosnia have entered into a security cooperation agreement that includes operational intelligence sharing, training and equipment donation, prompting concern that Turkey may use the agreement to export human rights violations to Bosnia, Nordic Monitor reported.

In the text of the agreement, obtained by Nordic Monitor, the two countries pledge to cooperate in fighting transnational organized crime, including money laundering, cybercrime, migrant smuggling, terrorism and economic and financial crime.

The agreement, currently awaiting approval in the Turkish parliament, was signed on September 20, 2020. It is expected to soon clear both the parliamentary committee and general assembly.

The provisions in the agreement concerning cooperation on terrorism offenses spell trouble for Bosnian authorities considering how the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan brands all of his critics, opponents and dissidents as terrorists.

In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Turks, including journalists, politicians, lawyers and human rights defenders, have been investigated, prosecuted and/or sentenced to prison time under Turkey’s much-abused terrorism laws in sham trials despite the fact that they had nothing to do with terrorism or violence.

Article 2 of the agreement, which covers cooperation on terrorism offenses, states that “cooperation in the fight against terrorism shall include, in particular, cooperation relating to the exchange of information, intelligence and assessments, and operational cooperation on terrorist organizations and their modus operandi, terrorist acts, terrorist financing, affecting the security of the Parties, and techniques and methods used in the prevention, countering and suppression of terrorism.”

During parliamentary deliberations on the approval of similar security protocols with other countries, Turkish government officials openly admitted that such agreements would contribute to the Turkish government’s efforts to suppress people affiliated with the Gülen movement in other countries.

What is more, at the insistence of Turkish officials, the agreement includes provisions on how to regulate the media in fighting against terrorism offenses, which has been a continuing pattern in such agreements signed by Turkey with dozens of countries in recent years, especially with countries that have problems in democracy, human rights and freedom of the press.

The agreement states that “In combatting terrorism, the Parties shall prevent the activities of the visual and written media organs of terrorist organizations and their front institutions operating in their territories against the other Party and the both Parties consider them as terrorist organizations and take appropriate measures in this regard according to their national legislations.”


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