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Türkiye plans tougher laws on foreign-backed crimes in new judicial reform

Türkiye plans tougher laws on foreign-backed crimes in new judicial reform The ruling AK Party plans tougher laws on foreign-backed crimes in new judicial reform, June 18, 2024. (AA Photo)
By Yucel Kayaoglu
Jun 18, 2024 2:04 PM

After the Eid holiday, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) plans to introduce its 9th judicial reform package to Turkish parliament, focusing notably on redefining the legal framework surrounding espionage under Turkish law.

Currently, acts such as abduction, document and information gathering are considered ordinary crimes unless committed on behalf of a foreign country, which would then classify them as espionage. The proposed reform aims to escalate penalties for offenses deemed strategically significant to national security.

According to sources, AK Party clarified that the legislative amendment specifically targets crimes committed within Türkiye on behalf of foreign countries or intelligence organizations. They emphasized that the amendment does not introduce definitions related to espionage agents, contrary to recent public discussions, including comparisons with examples like Georgia. Instead, the reform primarily seeks to enhance penalties for crimes such as murder, abduction, document theft, and robbery when undertaken at the behest of foreign entities.

The amendments are set to supplement Article 339 of the Turkish Penal Code, particularly concerning the unauthorized possession of state security documents. Individuals found conducting activities detrimental to Türkiye’s state security or political interests under directives from foreign states or organizations could face imprisonment ranging from 3 to 7 years. Moreover, penalties could increase up to 12 years during wartime or if the offenses occur within strategically vital entities or projects.

Legal experts from the AK Party emphasized that under the proposed reform, perpetrators would face separate penalties for the core criminal act and any involvement in espionage activities if proven that their actions were carried out under foreign directives.

Last Updated:  Jun 18, 2024 2:04 PM