Turkey's intel agency MİT to report to president with new decree

Published 26.08.2017 00:00

Turkey's intelligence service will report to the president under a new decree released on Friday.

The National Intelligence Organization (MİT) had previously reported to the prime minister, but in a decree issued under emergency powers introduced following last year's defeated coup, it will now answer to the president. The move aims to streamline bureaucracy.

The Official Gazette where the decree was announced also announced that the president would head the National Intelligence Coordination Board, which oversees the intelligence activities of MİT, the military and police.

The changes give President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan control over domestic and overseas intelligence gathering.

For the first time, MİT will be able to gather intelligence on armed forces and Defense Ministry personnel, something previously carried out by the military.

The president will also control any potential investigation by prosecutors into the head of MİT, currently Hakan Fidan.

A prosecutor wishing to investigate the MİT director will need to gain permission from the president. If permission is denied, the prosecutor can appeal to the Council of State (Danıştay) within 10 days.

Any investigation of the MİT chief will be passed to the chief prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals (Yargıtay). Such an investigation sparked a crisis in 2012 when a prosecutor linked to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) blamed for last year's coup bid tried to summon Fidan for "testimony."

It later turned out to be a plot by FETÖ to implicate state officials on trumped-up charges and imprison them in order to seize power. Erdoğan, the country's prime minister back then, prevented Fidan from going to court where he would likely be charged for aiding the terrorist group the PKK in a case regarding alleged audio recordings of MİT officials holding talks with senior PKK militants.

A state of emergency introduced days after the July 15 failed coup gives government the power to rule by decree.

Last April's constitutional referendum saw a vote in favor of adopting a presidential system of government, which is due to be implemented after the next elections in 2019.

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