Turkey’s Definition of ‘Terror’ Not in Line with European Council

ANKARA (Zaman/BIA)–The definition of "terror" in Turkey’s Counter-terrorism Act (CTA) was not modified by its Cabinet–even though Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek had said earlier said that it would be modified in line with the European Union Council decision.

The CTA aims to boost the powers of the country’s security forces in combating terrorism.

Cicek said the condition of using "force and violence" was preserved in the draft that has been sent to Parliament.

"In fact–it is impossible to commit terror crimes in many aspects without using force and violence. This point should be kept in mind when such acts are evaluated," said the minister.

According to the information obtained–individuals chanting slogans in favor of terror organizations and carry their symbols can be sentenced to 1-3 years in prison.

Cicek held a press conference after the cabinet meeting to inform that the CTA does not target ordinary citizens.

The Minister explained the reason why the definition was not modified as follows: "The EU Council decision is only a suggestion. Besides–not everybody agrees on the EU’s terror definition. We believe our definition contains all the necessary elemen’s."

Expectations that the CTA will bring an end to terror are wrong–he warned.

Human rights activists are challenging the Anti-terror bill–which they say is "incompatible with human rights" and intends to revert to past suppression laws. They say the law restricts democratic rights in the country and punishes those who attempt to enjoy their rights in order to pursue their goals.

Ayhan Bilgen–the Deputy Chairman of the Association for Human Rights and Solidarity with the Oppressed–said that he was seriously concerned about escalating violence in Turkey if the draft was passed in its present form by Parliament.

"To adopt violence against violence serves no purpose but to strengthen violence" he said. "This is the kind of intervention that will stimulate the violence stemming from the Kurdish problem instead of focusing on the Kurdish issue and its reasons."

Bilgen said the mentality behind the bill was "to punish activities that could be perceived as supporting armed groups in order to eradicate those groups–thus preventing that support."

Bilgen added that both in the articles of the bill and its reasoning–freedom of expression–democratic struggle–and human rights activists were being held responsible and expected to pay for the failure of the security forces and intelligence organizations in conducting their duties.

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