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Turkey adopts security law after ending controversial emergency rule

This photo taken on July 23, 2018 shows deputies arguing with one another at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. (By AFP)

Only days after lifting a controversial state of emergency, Turkey has approved a new security law, which critics say will result in continued crackdown on opposition and provide state officials with non-liability for important decisions.

The Turkish parliament adopted Tuesday all articles of the security law, which is said to be aimed at fighting terrorism, after the two-year-old state of emergency expired last week. The measure was put to a final vote at the legislature a day later.

The new law will effectively keep in place the terms of the emergency rule, which had been imposed in the aftermath of an abortive coup against the Ankara government in July 2016.

It will also grant broader authority to local governors, extend detention periods and allow public servant dismissals if there are links to or contacts with terrorist organizations or other perceived threats to national security.

Ankara blames US-based opposition cleric Fethullah Gulen and his supporters for the failed coup.

Under the controversial state of emergency, hundreds of thousands of people with alleged links to Gulen were arrested or dismissed from their jobs.

Ankara’s post-coup purge has drawn criticisms from domestic opposition and leading human rights organizations.

Ahead of the parliamentary vote, leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kilicdaroglu, had said the measure aims to legalize the state of emergency rule, the Hurriyet Daily reported on Tuesday.

“People [state officials] have duties, they have authority but they have no liability. If there is an authority and duty in a state, the person who exercises this authority should have liability. When you take out the liability link from the state, then there will be no state. That is the point that we have reached,” the opposition leader said.

Meanwhile, the measure’s backers say the new security law will strengthen security and help ease Turkey out of the tumultuous period it has witnessed over the past two years.

The developments come as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was recently re-elected for a new tenure. During his campaign, Erdogan had promised to lift the state of emergency.

However, he also pointed out that the new counter-terrorism legislation was needed to take tough action against any threat to Turkey’s security.

Turkey has been hit by numerous terrorist attacks.

Last year, a gunman shot and killed at least 39 people and wounded at least 70 others at the well-known Reina nightclub in Istanbul while customers were celebrating the New Year. 

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