A draft law on the prevention of the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) contains some additional provisions that allow the government to arbitrarily suspend the activities of the non-governmental organizations, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has stated.
“Combatting the financing of terrorism cannot be done like this. The [government] has introduced a lot of [irrelevant] items in the draft bill. These provisions can be used arbitrarily against the associations, which would result in the closure of all democratic channels,” Engin Altay, the CHP’s deputy parliamentary head, has said, reported the daily Hurriyet on Dec. 21.
The draft law, which was voted at a parliamentary panel over the weekend, aims to harmonize Turkey’s procedures of freezing the assets of the persons and the institutions and their associates declared by the U.N. Security Council resolutions with that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the U.N.
Altay said that the CHP was not against abiding by the guidelines of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), but the drafted law by the government had irrelevant provisions that would restrict the civil society in Turkey.
The FATF listed 40 expectations from Turkey but many of them were not considered to be added in the draft law, CHP deputy leader Bülent Kuşoğlu stated.
One of the recommendations by the FATF suggests that any financial transaction by the politicians or high-level officials with political influence should be notified to the FATF, Kuşoğlu added, noting that this was not introduced to the draft law either.
CHP Eskişehir MP Utku Çakırözer also criticized the draft law on the grounds that it could deteriorate the civil society in the country.
“Appointing trustees to the associations, restricting their activities are in violation of the constitution. This draft law, if legislated, will not harmonize the national law with the international laws, on the contrary, it will result in more friction,” he said.
The draft law bans all the associations from collecting donations and launching charity campaigns without governmental permission. The government will be able to shut down or appoint trustees to all the associations violating the law.