AKP reacts to Gül’s call for revision of new gov’t decree

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Bülent Turan

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Tuesday reacted to former President Abdullah Gül’s call on the government to revise a new state of emergency decree that gives immunity to civilians who take part in thwarting coup and terror incidents, Hürriyet reported.

“I am saddened to see that someone who did not react to previous regulations that granted the same immunity to officials has become restless today. Whoever he is…” said Bülent Turan, the AKP’s parliamentary group deputy chairman, during a press conference.

“He said this, others said that. I don’t think that’s right. We have the government, the top executive and the relevant ministry. The state of emergency decree was released after the approval of the related institutions,” Turan added.

“The ambiguity that does not comply with legal parlance in the text of state of emergency decree No. 696, which I think was released to protect the hero citizens who took to the streets to resist a traitorous coup attempt on July 15, is worrisome in terms of a state of law,” Gül said in a tweet.

“I hope to see its revision in order to avoid giving an opportunity to events and developments that could sadden all of us,” he added.

According to Article 121 of decree No. 696, which was released on Sunday, 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 events and terrorist activities will be exempt from criminal liability.

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

“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.

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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