A Step Backwards?: Turkey To Expand Police Power

By Huiyu Yin

Human rights activists and perhaps the general public in Turkey just celebrated the government’s reforms to limit police power in February 2014. On October 22, 2014, the government reversed its position and introduced a new bill that would expand the police’s search and seizure, and wiretapping powers. In addition, the bill would introduce a new charge that could potentially be used against government critics and restrict lawyers’ right to access evidence against their clients at the investigation stage. The bill is currently pending before the Turkish Parliament. After review by the Justice Commission of the Parliament, it may be submitted to the General Assembly, which may happen in the coming days.

Human Rights Watch identified five particularly problematic elements of the 35-article bill, which amends elements of the Criminal Procedure Code and Turkish Penal Code as well as other laws.