Remaining articles of Domestic Security Reform Package being discussed in committee
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULMar 17, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Mar 17, 2015 12:00 am
Discussions on the remaining 62 articles of the Domestic Security Reform Package, which consists of 130 articles in total, are still ongoing at Parliament's Interior Ministry committee. The committee, which has been convened under the leadership of Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Mehmet Ersoy, has also been attended by newly-appointed Interior Minister Sebahattin Öztürk. Deputies from opposition parties that have expressed dissent to the entire package continued to react against it, this time targeting the way the remaining articles were withdrawn. They argued the draft, which they said was already unlawful, has been withdrawn in an inappropriate manner.
Sixty-three articles of the controversial Domestic Security Reform Package have recently been sent back to the Parliament's lower committee upon a proposal by the AK Party.
Deputy Parliament speaker Meral Akşener announced that the articles between 68 and 130, which are currently being discussed, were referred back to the committee after a vote.
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 debate, in which opposition parties, with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) taking the lead, strongly object to the bill, which they claim is likely to be exploited.
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 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 claimed.
The Domestic Security Reform Package has been discussed by Parliament for roughly one month and, at the onset of the discussions the bill, was protested by brawls in which several deputies were injured. However, amid opposition and reactions, articles of the package have managed to be approved by Parliament.
The most debated articles of the package within the first week of discussions included restructuring the police force, tougher penalties for disrupting public order, safety and the labeling of Molotov cocktails as weapons.
According to the bill, during any gathering or protest, participants will be forbidden to carry fireworks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots, and punishment will be given to those who use them. Furthermore, with the new bill, those involved in the promotion of terror and those who cover their faces fully or partially during protests can face a five-year prison sentence.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu underlined in early February that although the AK Party government had given one week for opposition parties to provide amendments to the bill, there were no proposals from the Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) or HDP.
The Domestic Security Reform Package, which envisages tighter measures to prevent street violence, was initially proposed following the Kobani protests. The protests, which erupted out of a demand for the government to show more support to fellow Kurds in Kobani, Syria 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 the go-ahead for a draft bill that they believe will prevent such violence from reoccurring.