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Top court revokes financial board’s authority to access data

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court has cancelled the authority granted to the Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK), attached to the Treasury and Finance Ministry, to access all types of information and documents from various bodies and private citizens, Deutsche Welle Turkish service reported on Monday.

This authority was granted in a presidential decree signed by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and published in the Official Gazette in August 2019. The presidential decree restructured the authorities and duties of MASAK.

The decree granted MASAK the right to demand all kinds of information and documents from public agencies and legal persons as well as from real persons. Hence, MASAK was given the broad right to access to any and all information and documents it wants from state agencies such as the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) without facing any obstacles.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) challenged the decree at the Constitutional Court, claiming that it violates the constitution. The top court deemed the authority granted to MASAK a violation of the constitution in a decision it made on Feb. 24 on the grounds that it made the personal data of individuals accessible to MASAK and that there was no reference in the presidential decree about the protection of the personal data of citizens.

President Erdoğan, who has been receiving growing criticism for resorting to presidential decrees as a means of bypassing parliament, has issued 91 decrees during the 27th legislative term, which began in July 2018 when he was elected president for the first time under a presidential system of governance.

He was elected president in 2014 under a parliamentary system. Turkey voted in favor of a system change in a referendum held in 2017.

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