Turkey Government Steps Back on Controversial Security Bill

butceThe Turkish government took an unexpected step back on its controversial homeland security bill, taking the legislation out of parliament and sending it back to a committee for further revision.

The move appears to be a concession to the pro-Kurdish opposition in parliament to avoid damaging a fragile peace process with Kurdish rebels.

Over half the articles in the the 130-clause security bill have already been approved by parliament.

But Interior Minister Sebahattin Ozturk has asked for the remaining 63 articles in the bill to be sent to a parliamentary committee before further debate, Deputy Parliament Speaker Meral Aksener was quoted as saying late Thursday by the official Anatolia news agency.
The AKP, co-founded by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has a majority in parliament allowing it to push legislation through.

The opposition pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) vehemently opposes the bill but is also negotiating with the government over an end to the three-decade armed separatist Kurdish insurgency.

Expectations are growing of a major breakthrough in the peace process ahead of the Kurdish New Year on March 21 and the government does not want to risk the fragile talks and may now water the bill down.

In landmark message last month, Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), urged the separatists to take a “historic” decision to lay down arms.

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