Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ruled out any reforms to his nation’s anti-terror laws, even if it costs his nation the long-sought deal for visa-free travel within the European Union for periods of up to 90 days.
Human rights groups have roundly criticized the Turkish laws for allowing the government to crack down on general dissent, including nationalizing the major newspaper, Zaman, and arresting researchers and journalists for criticizing the president.
Erdogan has insisted his government needs such powers for national security, and says the EU won’t force any changes. If anything, signs are that the Turkish government is moving to increase its powers even further, with ongoing efforts to strip opposition MPs of legal immunity so Erdogan can charge them with terrorism as well.
In March, Erdogan declared that “democracy, freedom, and the rule of law have absolutely no value any longer,” in a speech in which he vowed to revoke that immunity and set the Turkish military on the political opposition to “do what is necessary.”