Turkish government seeks broader power for spy agency

Turkish government seeks broader power for spy agency
Fri Feb 21, 2014 08:04:27

Turkey's government has submitted a bill to parliament to give the country's spy agency more sweeping powers, a parliamentary source says.

The bill aims to give the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) the authority to carry out missions and surveillance both in Turkey and abroad without the need for a court order.

The MIT, which reports to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, will also have unlimited access to all documents - from personal information to data on public or banking sector - pertaining to national security.

And journalists who publish MIT documents face up to 12 years in prison - seen as a fresh attempt by Erdogan to stifle dissent.

Erdogan has come under fire at home and abroad for what critics see as increasingly authoritarian policies, including curbs on the judiciary and the Internet.

The Internet law, which has been described by rights groups as “Orwellian,” allows authorities to keep a record of someone's Internet activity for up to two years, including Google searches and interactions on social networks like Facebook.

The law also grants the Telecommunications Communications Presidency (TIB) the authority to request and collect communications and traffic data from hosting and service providers without a court order. The TIB will also be allowed to block web pages deemed insulting or as invading privacy.

The judiciary bill, which sparked fist fights among deputies debating it in parliament, gave the justice ministry greater control over the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK), an independent body responsible for appointing members of the judiciary.

The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) had previously declared that it would challenge both bills with the country's top constitutional court.

The government also embarked on a massive purge of police and prosecutors in the wake of a damaging corruption probe launched last year targeting several members of Erdogan's inner circle.


string(168) "[{"id":"1564258","sort":"3169918","contenttypeid":"21","pic":"/2014/02/10/alalam_635276324601784419_25f_4x3.jpg","title":"Turkey ranks 2nd in web censorship :Report"} ]"