[JURIST] The Turkish parliament [official website] on Thursday granted immunity [legislative record] to armed forces conducting counter-terrorism measures. This legislation is particularly concerning because of the number of civilians killed in the midst of recent conflict. The law, to be applied retroactively [Reuters report], will require authorization from either the military or government before prosecution can take place. Those in favor of the bill hope it will show support for the armed forces as the country faces an increase in terrorism. Those who opposed the law feared for its impact on any development the country hopes to make in terms of human rights. Many in opposition are also concerned the bill will give the military too much control — urging the rest of parliament to learn from the past.
Turkey and its treatment of human rights are cause for concern due to the growing partnership with the EU caused by the refugee crisis. EU leaders agreed [JURIST report] to a deal with Turkey in March to stem migrant flows, particularly of Syrian refugees, to Europe in return for financial and political incentive to Ankara. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated [JURIST report] last week that EU states are violating international law by breaking their migrant pact with Turkey by not allowing the country to extradite suspected terrorists. In April the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, called on Turkey to focus on human rights [JURIST report] in the wake of their anti-terrorism security measures. Also in April Amnesty International reported [JURIST report] that Turkey has been forcibly returning up to 100 refugees to Syria per day and expressed concern for the possible future of transported migrants.