Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul
Update from Turkey 10 July 2013:
Turkish PM Erdogan: “Separation of powers is an obstacle for our plans” 17.12.2012
AKP’s controversial midnight passing of laws have been regarded with infamy. This one focused on a “retaliation law” that was prepared urgently in a short time, to close down NGOs that do not share the same views as the governing AKP. The law passed with the AKP majority and even though all opposition deputies were present there, they were not able to stop the government as they have a landslide majority in the parliament resulting from the faulty election threshold of 10%.
According to the new law, NGOs (namely the professional chambers) will not be allowed to check on government (local or central) plans and decisions, they will not be asked their advice in their fields of expertise, and they will not be allowed to have a sustainable budget. This basically kills all the work of many proactive NGOs that have checked and tried to balance the excessively destructive plans of the government over the last years, though without much success.
The most recent restrictive law came as a harsh blow against Turkey’s Chamber of Engineers & Architects, TMMOB, which successfully formed Taksim Solidarity and prevented the government from demolishing Gezi Park while there was a court decision to protect the park. As a majority of management people from several influential NGOs and Unions are under detention and their homes were raided by police without a court order, the NGOs were left with only the young members who mobilized social media and started campaigns to stop this law from passing or being approved by President Gül.
Many protesters consider the practice of midnight legislation, dawn raids against civilians, and excessive use of force as indicators of a civilian coup by AKP, which has dominated all separate powers of the state except for civil society, and with this new law has managed to silence all NGOs. While in the legislative arena this is happening, on the streets of Tophane, just down from Taksim, paramilitary forces that support AKP and riot police are forming up gangs to “protect their neighborhood.” These people join and follow the riot police during the raids, holding up clubs and sticks and even some with machetes and pistols, threatening civilians.
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