Monday, April 03, 2006

UN Calls Turkey to Clarify 'Terror Definition'

INTERNATIONAL 04.03.2006 Monday - ISTANBUL 02:01

By Foreign News Desk
Published: Sunday, April 02, 2006

Turkey received a warning from the United Nations after the Counter Terrorism Act (CTA) made top agenda again with its anti-democratic elements.

The United Nations supports Ankara to modify its current CTA and called Turkey to clarify its terror definition and not to prosecute those who do not join violent actions. UN Human Rights and Counter-terrorism rapporteur Martin Scheinin noted in his report on human rights and counter-terrorism that Turkey should level its terror definition with international standards and regulations.

Scheinin stated that the CTA drafted in 1992 should be modified and the terror crimes should be clarified. The UN rapporteur said that terror definition can be restricted to conducting fatal actions, employing violence against individuals or taking hostage. Scheinin's report is expected to be discussed in the newly formed UN Human Rights Council, which is expected to hold its first meeting in Geneva. The Finnish lawyer, Martin Scheinin, visited Turkey in February after he had been appointed in August and held contacts in Ankara and Diyarbakir with top level officials. Martin Scheinin claimed that in Turkey the expression "terror" is still used to define many people, organizations, and actions without making reference or relating it to the international terror definition. The Finnish rapporteur noted that the terror definition will prevent the exploitation of "opinion crime" and "membership, helping, and encouraging" crimes for purposes other than fighting terrorism.

Scheinin praised Turkey over some issues and said that the government has announced they will not tolerate torture and secured the terror suspects' right to immediately contact their lawyers. Scheinin asked Ankara to form an independent mechanism to investigate allegations that terror suspects are tortured and maltreated.