Turkey mulls 'foreign influence' law despite opposition criticism

Istanbul, May 23 (IANS/DPA): The Turkish government is preparing to pass a law that could mean jail sentences for people accused of working under foreign influence against the Turkish state, according to local media and a draft legislation seen by news agency DPA.

The draft law is not final and would still need to be approved by parliament.

Human rights activists and opposition parties fear the anticipated law could silence NGOs and journalists critical of the government, similar to the “foreign agent” law in neighbouring Georgia.

According to the draft, people who research Turkish authorities, institutions or foreigners in Turkey "within the strategic interests or on the instructions of a foreign state or organization" in a way that could compromise the security of the state face several years in prison.

“This law is dangerous for Turkey and susceptible to abuse,” German-Turkish lawmaker from Turkish opposition DEVA Party, Mustafa Yeneroglu, told DPA.

Vaguely written laws could turn the media, human rights organizations and foreign foundations into targets for authorities, he said.

The draft law is to be discussed in parliament before the summer break, local media reported this week.

There have been mass protests in Georgia for weeks against a controversial law that is intended to limit foreign influence on non-governmental organisations.

Georgia's President Salome Zurabishvili vetoed the law, but her veto can be overruled by parliament.



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Title: Turkey mulls 'foreign influence' law despite opposition criticism

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