Turkey: Erdogan gains access to human rights groups

Kremlin Vladimir Putin has already put Russian NGOs on the curb with similar laws. Now the Turkish President Erdogan is striking too: Human rights organizations and civil rights activists, in short all NGOs in Turkey, can be controlled under more than vague suspicion of terrorism and their activities restricted, even banned entirely.

Arbitrary act

The Turkish parliament has passed controversial provisions regulating civil society organizations. A majority of MPs in Ankara voted for a corresponding law on Sunday night. Human rights organizations criticize the fact that this gives the Interior Ministry more power over non-governmental organizations. This could “arbitrarily” restrict NGO activities. “This law gives the Ministry of the Interior the power to shut down any NGO without the right to appeal,” a representative of Amnesty International criticized the law in the Financial Times . “

Fight against weapons of mass destruction

According to its title, the law is intended to prevent the financing and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The US human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) had already criticized in advance that a large part of it deals with the regulation of independent groups.

Warning of abuse

The Ministry of the Interior is given the right to suspend a group member from his position if the person is investigated under the Terrorist Financing Act and in connection with their civil society activities, among other things. The ministry can therefore suspend the activities of the entire organization. This must be submitted to a court that will rule on the case within 48 hours.
HRW criticizes the fact that anti-terrorism laws are often misused in Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamic-conservative ruling AKP party introduced the law into parliament. It has a majority in alliance with the ultra-nationalist party MHP.


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