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EU fears legislative proposals could merely replace Turkey’s state of emergency

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The European Union on Thursday welcomed the end of a two-year-long state of emergency in Turkey but expressed concern that new legislative proposals may dampen any positive effect of its termination.

“The end of the state of emergency in place in Turkey since the coup attempt of 2016 is a welcome step. At the same time, we believe the adoption of new legislative proposals granting extraordinary powers to the authorities and retaining several restrictive elements of the state of emergency would dampen any positive effect of its termination,” said Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) introduced a new bill in Parliament on Monday that replaced security measures enforced during the soon-to-end state of emergency.

Reminding of the EU’s expectations that Turkey implement the key recommendations of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission and other relevant institutions and respect the separation of powers between the executive and the judiciary, Kocijancic called on Turkey “to follow through and reverse all measures that continue to impact negatively on the rule of law, independence of the judiciary and the fundamental freedoms that are at the core of any democratic state.”

“These include freedom of expression, freedom of association and procedural rights. And we expect Turkey’s derogations from its obligations under the European Convention for Human Rights to cease with the lifting of the state of emergency.”

The spokesperson also underlined that “concrete and lasting improvements in the area of rule of law and fundamental freedoms remain essential to the prospects of EU-Turkey relations.”

According to the AKP’s bill governors will be authorized to ban people who are considered to be disturbing the public order from entering or leaving designated city locations for up to 15 days.

Governors will also be able to ban public gatherings and to reorganize traffic zones on security concerns. Additionally, they will have the authority to prohibit gun ownership for specified individuals and the transportation of guns.

The bill changes the length of detention for suspects accused of organized crime to four days, a reduction from the seven-day limit under the state of emergency, before which it was two days.

Another regulation the bill foresees is that with a court order or a condition deemed an emergency regarding security measures the military is authorized to search a suspect’s person, car, documents and belongings.

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