Domestic security reform package to enhance civilian identity of the state
by Daily Sabah
ISTANBULOct 21, 2014 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah
Oct 21, 2014 12:00 am
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, speaking at AK Party's weekly group meeting on Tuesday has outlined the details of the domestic security reform package which aims to establish a balance between freedom and security of the people while enhancing the civilian identity of the state.
Davutoğlu has expressed that the Ministry of the Interior needs to be restructured. "Turkish state institutions need to be revised as New Turkey is being established" said the prime minister, who noted that he has instructed all institutions and will personally meet with each state institution to determine necessary reforms. He furthermore touched upon the importance for the state to ensure democracy and the future of the state through the conduction of mentioned reforms in a transparent manner.
After a series of evaluations conducted by the Ministry of the Interior, the government has come to the conclusion that the state should change its attitude and express its confidence in the people according to Davutoğlu, who stated that citizens will not be obliged to go to civil registry offices during instances of birth and divorce. Instead, they will be able to easily report such incidents through notification. Likewise, citizens will not be required to obtain the court's permission to change their names and last names.
In efforts to provide citizens with a practical and speedy system, the domestic security reform package will allow them to obtain important official documents such as residency and birth certificates through the online e-state system. Similarly, passport and driver's license certificates will be issued by the Directorate of Population and Citizenship Affairs instead of the security directorate.
Important reforms in the security directorate are also on the agenda to improve the efficiency and flexibility of the institution according to Davutoğlu, who stated that there is an evident breakdown in the institution which needs to be addressed. He elaborated by saying that the shortcomings will be addressed in an appropriate manner and security officials will be directed to act under the scope of rule of law and espouse such security norms.
The Gendarmerie and Coast Guard Command appointments will be made by the interior ministry and Davutoğlu has noted that civilian and democratic inspections of institutions will take place and the government will continue to provide assistance to ensure optimum competency. Moreover, gendarmerie forces will now wear a special uniform designated by the interior ministry which will combine elements of civilian aspects and societal appearance of officials. "In this sense, we emphasized structural precautions before others" said Davutoğlu, who stated that the government determines what needs to be done and takes steps under the scope of basic human rights principles.
Intelligence activities will also be inspected to ensure that they are conducted in accordance with the law. For instance, authorization pertaining to technical tracking and wiretapping will be inspected by the Prime Ministry Inspection Board and a report will be presented to the Parliamentary Commission with 17 members.
Davutoğlu highlighted that the right to meet and protest are democratic rights which must be conducted under the scope of laws and regulations pertaining to public order. He expressed that creating violence and riots through such means is unacceptable and asserted that security forces are obliged to ensure safety of all protestors during times of demonstrations. "The moment someone holds a Molotov cocktail intends to initiate violence" said Davutoğlu, who stated such people cannot claim that they are using their democratic right and reject intervention. He explained that necessary regulations have been made in accordance with examples throughout the world where Molotov cocktails are considered to be weapons. "Molotov cocktails are a tool which perpetrators use to attack" said Davutoğlu, who referred to the incident which took place on Oct. 5 and 6 where pro and anti-PKK Kurds clashed and ambulances were burnt down, schools and libraries were attacked and 36 people have lost their lives.
Moreover, Davutoğlu noted that those who cover their face will not be allowed to protest while the police will be authorized to keep violators under custody for up to 24 hours, relatively shorter than the police in the UK which is authorized for up to 36 hours of custody.
Another feature of the reform package is the increase in penalties for narcotics as it will treat Bonzai –synthetic drug- sellers as terrorists while penalties for drug sellers near schools will be doubled as Davutoğlu pledged that the government will not permit drug sellers get near schools. Likewise, he expressed that precautions will be taken for those who call for violence through social media and condemned messages which call for armed uprising through Twitter.
Other features of the reform package will include regulations for the disabled, elderly and sick citizens as they will be able to give testimony at home rather than at the courthouse or the police office. Similarly, a draft law proposal will be presented to the parliament pertaining to workplace safety and protection of confidential data, while e-commerce consumer rights will be protected by the government. Additionally, he reported that Istanbul Arbitration Courts will be established by the government.
The Prime Minister has expressed that the reforms will be conducted in accordance with EU Harmonization Committee.