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New draft law seeks to paralyze Turkish civil society

Groups across the ideological spectrum say the law, aimed at keeping Turkey from being blacklisted by the international money laundering watchdog, includes articles that will severely hamper their work.

Turkish civil society organizations spanning the ideological spectrum are raising the alarm over controversial legislation they say will grant the government sweeping new powers to monitor and proscribe their activities.

The draft law to “Prevent the Financing and Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction” is supposed to keep Turkey from being blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a Paris-based watchdog monitoring terrorism financing and money laundering. But the law being debated in the Turkish parliament has been padded with numerous articles allowing the government to appoint trustees to nongovernmental organizations, to arbitrarily suspend their activities, seize their assets and monitor their fund-raising activities and to shut them down altogether.

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