Six more articles of domestic security reform package pass Parliament
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 12, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 12, 2015 12:00 am
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has displayed strong determination to pass the controversial Domestic Security Reform Package amid strong resistance from opposition parties. A week after 37 articles were approved by the Parliament, six more out of 132 articles of the package have passed the Parliament.
The government's proposal of the domestic security reform package, which seeks to tighten security in Turkey by granting expanding powers to security forces, has sparked heated debates in which opposition parties - the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) taking the lead - strongly objected the bill, which they claim was liable to exploitation.
In response to the reactions, the government has claimed that the package aims to establish a balance between freedom and security for its citizens, while enhancing the civilian identity of the state. Moreover, Interior Minister Efkan Ala has recently said that the package has been welcomed by 80 percent of the Turkish public, "We are not preparing this draft bill [security bill] with the opposition parties' approval as the basis, indeed we are preparing it in accordance with the will of the nation, 80 percent of which supports it," Ala said.
The Domestic Security Reform Package has been discussed by Parliament for roughly a month and at the onset of the discussions, the bill was countered by brawls during which several Parliamentary members were injured. However, amid opposition and reactions, articles of the package have managed to receive approval of the Parliament. The six articles that have recently passed concern officers of the coast guard command.
The most debated articles of the package within the first week of the discussions include restructuring the police force, tougher penalties for disrupting public order, safety and the labeling of molotov cocktails as weapons.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu underlined in early February that although the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government had given one week for opposition parties to provide amendments to the bill, there were no proposals from either the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) nor the Peoples' Democracy Party (HDP).
The security package bill, which envisages tighter measures to prevent street violence, was initially brought up following the Kobani protests. The protests, which erupted out of a demand from the government to show more support to fellow Kurds in Kobani fighting Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) militants, fuelled acts of vandalism and violence that resulted not only in the loss of dozens of lives, but also great damage to buildings, vehicles and property.
Following the events, Ankara took up the matter and gave a go-ahead to a draft bill that they consider will prevent such violence from reoccurring.