AKP missed another major chance to democratize Turkey by passing a one-article MIT Act. The act requires prosecutors to obtain permission from the Prime Minister’s office before investigating or interrogating MIT operatives.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu bashed the act in the starkest terms possible:
“Turkey’s main opposition accused the prime minister on Tuesday of trying to tighten his grip on the security services with a proposed law that would curb the powers of the judiciary to investigate senior intelligence officials.
It was hastily drafted after prosecutors summoned Turkey’s top spy last week and lawmakers from Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party pushed it through a parliamentary commission on Tuesday night. It will be put to a general assembly vote this week.
The law would mean top officials from Turkey’s spy agency could not be questioned without the Prime Minister’s permission.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party – CHP, said by limiting the powers of the state to investigate top spies, the prime minister would effectively be creating a “gang” answerable only to him.
“Will Tayyip Erdogan be given the power to establish a gang? Even if this gang betrays its country it will not be able to be tried,” Kilicdaroglu said.
“The prime minister could say to his gang: ‘Go kill the president’. Is this a possibility? It is a possibility.”
As it is its custom AKP refused to heed the warnings by the opposition, passing the bill unilaterally. It was signed into law within six hours by Turkey’s docile and pro-AKP president Mr. Gul. Thus, Premier Erdogan’s pet bureaucrat MIT chief Mr. Hakan Fidan and all of his associates have been decked in a mantle of immunity, a privilege nowadays not even granted to Chiefs of Military Staff, or to 8 deputies who still languish in the prison.
On Monday, CHP announced its appeal of the law at the Constitutional Court:
“The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) on Monday announced that it will challenge a law passed last week making changes to the law on the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), which was swiftly adopted after a prosecutor attempted to summon five former and current MİT executives as suspects in an outlawed investigation.
The announcement came from CHP parliamentary group deputy chairman Akif Hamzaçebi. “Mr. President might have ratified this law,” he said. “It might be in force. The prosecutors might have ended the probe [into MİT execs], but we will speedily challenge this law at the Constitutional Court.”
Hamzaçebi did not specify when the CHP will make the move, but said “in a very short time” in response to a journalist’s query on the planned timing.
He also said the CHP found the president’s speedy ratification of the law questionable, saying the hastiness the president showed in ratifying the law was a “violation of the will of the nation.” He added the parliamentary majority of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) did not reflect the will of the Turkish nation.
The MİT law was changed to necessitate special permission from the Prime Ministry for investigating high-level intelligence officials after a prosecutor investigating the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK)-related network, alleged that some MİT agents inside the KCK/PKK had collaborated in terror crimes.
The amendment, Hamzaçebi said, was a “grave” mistake, noting that the law concerning MİT, which has been in force since 1983, was very specific about the sphere of MİT duties. He said that according to this law, the prime minister did not have the authority to give assignments to MİT. “The prime minister did not have the right to give an assignment to MİT until the latest amendment. This has opened the possibility of the government using MİT outside its own sphere of duty and for its own interests. This new amendment implicitly gives the prime minister the right to give assignments to MİT. This is unacceptable in a democracy.”
Hamzaçebi also expressed his opinion that the public was against the legislative change that amended the law on MİT. He recalled that two MİT officers had been arrested as part of a probe in Erzincan last year. He claimed that the government’s move to change the legislation to prevent the interrogation of MİT officers by a prosecutor this time could open a “shady area” in which the government will have greater room to maneuver.”