World Bulletin / News Desk
An official from U.S. Department of State has voiced U.S. concerns over the controversial security bill being debated in the Turkish parliament.
On an official visit to Turkey, the deputy assistant secretary of state in the U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Thomas Melia expressed concern about the additional authority that is given to police in the new draft bill.
“We do share the widespread concerns (…) raised by the international community and Turkish citizens," said Melia in a meeting with the press in Ankara.
A tense atmosphere has surrounded discussions over the bill in the past two weeks, as parliament saw two brawls between lawmakers, which left several injured.
The government sees measures in the bill as compliant with EU norms, while opposition parties reject it outright, saying it would erode freedoms and rights in the country.
The reform package bill criminalizes participation in protests with a covered face and makes the possession of Molotov cocktails punishable by up to five years in prison.
“People should not be prosecuted for expressing their opinion on government or public officials,” said Melia. “People in a free society are allowed to complain about their leaders and their performances. That’s one of the things we are concerned (with) about Turkey.”
He also adressed the recent killing of 20-year-old Ozgecan Aslan, whose charred body was found in Mersin on Feb. 13, sparking a national debate on violence against women.
“Violence against women is not a problem that is unique to Turkey," he said. "It's one that many societies share. It’s important that law enforcement authorities vigorously prosecute those who commit violent crimes against women. It also remains a problem in the U.S.”
Melia met with government officials and NGO’s regarding human rights issues.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 28 Şubat 2015, 10:38