Turkey’s New bill to monitor civil society groups

The Turkish Parliament recently passed the act called “Preventing Financing of Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The bill would increase the monitoring of civil society groups.

About the Bill

  • The bill was passed following the 2019 report on Turkey prepared by the Intergovernmental body Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The FATF fights money laundering and terror financing.
  • The bill has made changes to seven laws on Law of Associations of Turkey. The bill consists of forty-three articles and is meant to keep Turkey from being blacklisted by FATF, a Paris-based watchdog of terror financing.
  • The bill provides powers to the Turkish Government to appoint trustees to non-governmental organizations, to seize their assets, to suspend their activities and monitor their sources of funding.
  • It allows the interior ministries to replace members of associations if they are being investigated on terrorism charges. This will now empower the interior ministries to restrict activities of any organization and individuals in the country.
  • The law is applicable to the international civil society groups operating in Turkey as well.

Background

The Turkey Government has been targeting several journalists, academicians, bureaucrats and judges after a failed coup in 2016. In 2020, the Turkish prosecutors ordered arrests of more than seven hundred military and justice ministry personnel. They were accused that they were involved in the 2016 coup attempt to overthrow Erdogan Government. The Turkish President Erdogan has been in power over a decade now. He is an Islamist and conservative who has brought in series of reforms in Turkish society.

Terrorism in Turkey

The Kurdish-Turkish conflicts, involvement in Syrian Civil war are the main sources of terrorist incidents in Turkey. Turkey was ranked 18th in the Global Terrorism Index (India ranked eighth). The Global Terrorism Index is prepared by Institute for Economics and Peace.

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