ANKARA (AFP)–Turkey’s definition of terrorism is too broad and may lead to the prosecution of people with no direct involvement in terror acts–a UN envoy said Thursday in Ankara.
Speaking at the end of a one-week fact-finding mission–Martin Scheinin–the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism–singled out for criticism an anti-terror act–passed in 1991–aimed in particular at quelling a bloody Kurdish rebellion in the country’s southeast.
The law–he said–is too broad and vague with respect to local terrorist groups and fails to adequately address the international struggle against terrorism.
It "defines terrorism based on its purpose or aims rather than referring to specific criminal acts," he said. "This may lead to a situation where people are convicted for terrorist crimes without sufficient connection to acts of terror."
Scheinin estimated from his findings in Diyarbekir–a major city in the predominantly Kurdish southeast–that "only a small number of charges of terrorism relate to actual acts of terror."
Eager to join the European Union–Turkey has amended its anti-terror laws several times–easing in particular punishmen’s for the press and introducing compensation for Kurdish villagers who have suffered losses in Turkish army operations.
The security forces–however–have complained that reforms in the anti-terror act and the penal code are hampering efforts against terrorism and other criminal acts.
Scheinin charged there was a "lack of transparency and clarity" about how Turkish groups are classified as terrorist.