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Turkey Mulls New Terror Laws           07/18 06:21

   ANKARA, Turkey (AP) -- As Turkey's controversial two-year-long state of 
emergency comes to an end, the government is set to introduce new 
anti-terrorism laws it says are needed to deal with continued security threats. 
The opposition insists the laws are just as oppressive as the emergency powers 
they will replace.

   Turkey declared a three-month state of emergency days after a violent failed 
coup attempt in 2016, and has extended it seven times since then.

   As part of a campaign promise before his victory in month's elections, 
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had pledged not to prolong the state of 
emergency when it expires at midnight Wednesday.

   Instead, a parliamentary committee is on Thursday scheduled to debate 
government-proposed legislation that, among other things, would allow 
authorities to press ahead with mass dismissals of civil servants and hold some 
suspects in custody for up to 12 days. A vote in the general assembly could be 
held next week.

   Under the state of emergency, Turkey has arrested more than 75,000 people 
for alleged links to Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based cleric whom Ankara blames 
for the failed coup attempt.

   Some 130,000 civil servants have been purged from government jobs for 
purported links to terror organizations.

   Among them are judges, prosecutors, police and military officers, teachers 
and academics. Many have repeatedly declared their innocence. Gulen himself 
denies involvement in the coup attempt.

   Critics have accused the government of misusing its emergency powers to 
erode democracy and arrest opponents, including lawmakers, journalists and 
political activists.

   A U.N. report earlier this year said Turkey's state of emergency had led to 
human rights violations.

   If approved, the new anti-terror laws would also allow governors to bar 
entry into certain regions for up to 15 days. Open-air demonstrations would be 
restricted to daylight hours.

   "They are bringing to parliament new legislation that is aimed at making the 
state of emergency permanent," Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main 
opposition Republican Peoples' Party said of the anti-terror laws on Tuesday.

   Turkey says the anti-terror measures are necessary because it is the target 
of several "terror" groups, including a network of Gulen supporters, Kurdish 
rebels and the Islamic State group.


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