Turkish government’s new decree authorizes Erdoğan for prisoner swap with other countries

As dozens of foreign nationals are held in Turkey’s prisons due to political charges, a new decree issued on Friday authorizes autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to swap or return foreign national prisoners to their home countries.

Since the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 several critical decisions, including, but not limited to purges of civil servants, in Turkey are put into effect by means of decrees only which are enabled by state of emergency powers.

According to one of the two decrees issued on August 25, due to ‘national security concerns’ the president of the country could decide to return or swap foreign national prisoners.

As part of Turkey’s massive purge in wake of failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016, several citizens of foreign countries such as Germany and the United States were arrested due to ‘terror’ charges.

The two new decrees also tied the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MİT) to the presidency.

According to the new decrees, which were published in the Official Gazette and numbered 693 and 694, the National Intelligence Coordinating Committee, which was previously chaired by MİT Undersecretary Hakan Fidan, will be presided over by President Erdoğan.

With the new decrees, launching an investigation into the MİT undersecretary will be possible only with the permission of the president. Objections to a decision which gives or does not give permission to investigate the undersecretary will be made to the Council of State. In the event the permission is received, the investigation will be launched by the Supreme Court of Appeals.

The intelligence services concerning Defense Ministry and the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) personnel will be conducted by MİT.

Fidan was criticized by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) for not testifying to the legislature’s Coup Investigation Commission and submitting written testimony together with Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar after a botched coup attempt last summer.

According to the new decrees, 922 people from state institutions, including 142 from the Justice Ministry, 29 from the Interior Ministry, 19 from the Defense Ministry and 120 academics from universities, were fired.

Two newspapers, one news agency and three foundations were also shut down by the decrees.

The Turkish government has suspended or dismissed more than 146,000 people, including soldiers, judges, teachers, police officers and civil servants, since last year through government decrees issued as part of a state of emergency. (turkishminute.com)

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