MS Risk Blog

Turkish Draconian Laws on Terrorism or Safety Measures?

Posted on in Turkey title_rule


Terrorism is an historical global phenomena. Groups are characterized by certain ideologies, modus operandi, organizational type, structure and functions. Although those parameter are easily identifiable there is no a single or a set of proven strategies capable of defeating it. The struggle is always the result of a complex interlinked series of actors and events. Terrorist and counterterrorist operations share, to same extend, the capability of adapting to the current scenario. State actors’ adaptability and the choice of measures to implement are generally part of a legal system. The legal framework of a nation is the direct result of its society requirements.

Ankara, has been hit by a terrorist attack for the third time in five months, with Sunday’s suicide bombing adding a further 37 to the city’s gruesome running toll of more than 200 dead. Turkey is the target of multiple terrorist organizations simultaneously, including Islamic State and the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK. In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is demanding wider counter-terrorist powers to deal with the threat. The treat is credible and imminent however the EU is requesting a different approach. The European Parliament began debates on a proposal by the European Commission, the executive body of the EU, to grant Turkey the visa waiver. Turkey and the European Union sealed a contentious deal in March, under which the 28-nation bloc will take in thousands of Syrian refugees directly from the country and in return will reward Ankara with money, visa exemption and progress in its EU membership negotiations. Turkey has largely complied with the deal allowing providing asylum for millions of refugees and saving the EU from an unprecedented crisis that no member state has prepared or planned for.

The Turkish efforts and compliances are still not enough in order to win visa-free travel. Turkey must still meet five of 72 criteria the EU imposes on all states exempt from visas, one of which is narrowing its legal definition of terrorism. PM Ahmet Davutoglu, who negotiated the deal for Ankara and has largely delivered Turkish compliance with its conditions so far, announced he was stepping down, throwing the agreement into uncertainty. Turkey has used broad anti-terror laws to silence dissent, including detaining journalists and academics critical of the government. But Ankara insists the laws are essential as it battles Kurdish militants at home and the threat from Islamic State in neighboring Syria and Iraq. Turkey argues that, at the current stage, it is impossible to make any revision to the legislation and practices on terrorism while the country continues its intense fight against various terrorist organizations.

The main governmental bodies involved in combating terrorism are the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the General Staff of the armed forces and the intelligence services. In addition to these existing institutional structures the Under Secretariat of Public Order and Security has been established by Law No. 5952. Terrorism is a leading threat against international peace, security and stability. Turkey is committed to combating terrorism in all its forms, without distinction and takes a firm stance against associating terrorism with any religion, nationality, civilization or ethnic group. The main legal provisions concerning terrorism are set out in the Counter-Terrorism Law (CTL), No. 3713 of 12 April 1991 and the Turkish Criminal Code, No. 5237 which entered into force on 1 June 2005. Since the enactment of the Counter-Terrorism Law, various amendments have been recently made to increase its effectiveness in counter-terrorism and to expand rights and freedoms in line with European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

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