By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
In what can be seen as a prelude to future rights abuses by Turkish military and police forces engaged in countering the pro-Kurdish resistance fighters in the east, Turkey’s parliament passed laws granting immunity to its military engaged in “anti-terrorist” operations.
The government has become engaged in fighting since a cease-fire with the PKK broke down two years ago.
NGOs and opposition parliamentarians voiced strong disagreement and concern that lax or blind oversight will lead to human rights abuses in a struggle that has already claimed the lives of over 7,000 Kurds and 500 police and military forces.
A Kurdish news source reported the already dire situation in eastern Turkey:
Since July 2015, Turkey initiated a controversial military campaign against the PKK in the country’s southeastern Kurdish regions. Since the beginning of the campaign, Ankara has imposed several round-the-clock curfews, preventing civilians from fleeing regions where the military operations are being conducted.
Activists have accused the security forces of causing huge destruction to urban centres and killing Kurdish civilians. But the government says the operations are essential for public safety, blaming the PKK for the damage.
The law requires that for any prosecution to be initiated, permission must be first obtained from the military or political leaders, a dubious clause since there is more than sufficient reason to cover-up any possible controversy. Somehow, it would seem that after this law, Turkey can now claim that abuses and malfeasance committed by its security forces simply do not exits; making it a most benevolent social benefit agency for the Kurds.
If that was not enough the law will also be made retroactive to cover any other “misunderstandings” allegedly committed by the military.
Two years earlier, however, President Erdogan in his former role as Prime Minister devoted considerable time to creating civilian oversight programs to watch its military and police services. And, just over a month ago he stripped parliamentary immunity from Kurdish members of parliament, making them subject to arrest for “crimes” committed within their respective constituencies.
By Darren Smith
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