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Ankara gives police access to military, intelligence assets to crush protests

A presidential decree has paved the way for Turkish police to use military and intelligence resources to crack down on public protests.
A Turkish policeman stands guard outside the courthouse in Istanbul on March 28, 2019, during the trial of Metin Topuz, an US consulate staffer accused of spying and attempting to overthrow the government. - Topuz, a Turkish citizen and liaison with the US Drug Enforcement Administration, was arrested in 2017 and has been accused of ties to US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara says ordered a failed 2016 coup. (Photo by OZAN KOSE / AFP)        (Photo credit should read OZAN KOSE/AFP via Getty Images)

A recent presidential decree concerning the weapons and other assets of Turkey’s military and security bodies has generated little debate in Turkey but might have crucial consequences down the road as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deals with growing opposition and dissent.

The Jan. 6 decree amended regulations on the properties of the police and the gendarmerie forces, both attached to the Interior Ministry, the military and the National Intelligence Agency (MIT). Those bodies can now transfer moveable properties to one another “without any conditions” in the event of “terrorist and societal incidents and violent movements that seriously threaten national security, public order and public security.” The amendment also allows the army to send military equipment to “allied and friendly countries."

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