CHP: Gov’t establishing armed civilian gangs with new decree

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CHP's Bülent Tezcan

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) slammed the government over a new state of emergency decree issued on Sunday, saying it paves the way for armed civilian gangs in Turkey, CNN Türk reported.

According to article 121 of decree No. 696, regardless of an official title or duties or the lack thereof, people who played a role in the suppression of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and subsequent terrorist activities and events will be exempt from criminal liability.

“Where do you find this sort of article? In fascist, military states, where states aim to frighten civilians with paramilitary forces. This is an article paving the way to the establishment of armed civilian gangs by the government, an article preparing a substructure for it,” said Bülent Tezcan, deputy chairman and spokesperson of the CHP, during a press conference.

“This article is a disguised amnesty. It says those who perpetrated such a crime in the past will be forgiven,” added Tezcan.

Tezcan also criticized the government for imposing jumpsuits for all convicts and suspects in pretrial detention for crimes against the constitutional order.

“It is a violation of the presumption of innocence. It is a sign of prejudice and revenge. No one can know who will wear that jumpsuit tomorrow,” he said.

The CHP’s Tezcan emphasized that they would take the new state of emergency decree to the Constitutional Court.

Reactions to the new decree that gives immunity and impunity to civilian violence in the context of the coup attempt and terrorist attacks are not limited to the CHP.

Kerem Altıparmak, a human rights lawyer from Ankara University, underlined in a tweet that with the new decree the worst human rights violations and all kinds of crimes have been legitimized under the cover of fighting terrorism. Recalling that the Turkish Constitutional Court has approved the government’s state of emergency decrees, Altıparmak called on victims and their relatives to go directly to European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).

Human rights advocate Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu summarized the new decree in a tweet: “If you make an innocent protest and someone kills you, he may not be punished. What else could be done to show that the state of law has ended?”

“Erdogan regime has welcomed private participation in witch hunts against Erdogan enemies. Now pro-state vigilantism is formally legal,” tweeted Timur Kuran, a professor of economic and political development at Duke University.

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