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Turkish parliament passes law regulating non-governmental organizations

Turkish parliament passes law regulating non-governmental organizations

28.12.2020 | Hannah Brem | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US DECEMBER 27, 2020 03:08:44 PM | 608

The Turkish Parliament passed a law Sunday aimed at controlling terrorism after two days of debate.

Entitled the “Law on Preventing the Financing of the Spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction,” the new legislation includes controversial amendments to an existing law on aid collection. These amendments enable the government, led by President Tayyip Erdogan, to block the websites of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and halt their operations without a hearing.

In a joint statement, seven human rights groups criticized the amendments and claimed their fundraising efforts would be severely limited. The groups warned that

human rights associations, associations and foundations operating in the field of women’s rights, refugee rights, children’s rights and LGBTI+ rights, various legal associations, associations engaged in social struggle, associations that use funding sources for social assistance, citizen associations[,] [a]ll of the sports clubs, associations and foundations of different faith groups will face the risk of being closed with a single signature.

Human rights groups view the amendments as the latest blow in a continuing attack against them. President Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP) have targeted free speech and human rights groups since a coup attempt in 2016. In July 2020, a Turkish court convicted a former chair of Amnesty International, among others, on terrorism charges.

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