Erdogan's Private Police Force: A New Blow to Turkish Democracy

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"Turkish parliament passed a controversial bill in the past weeks providing the neighborhood watchmen (Bekci in Turkish) with extended yet unprecedented powers, including the authority to stop and search citizens, and to carry firearms and use force whenever necessary. With the introduction of the new law, the neighborhood watchmen will have almost the same powers as the police. The new legislation elicited immediate backlash from the civil and political opposition in Turkey, accusing the incumbent Justice and Development Party (AKP) of attempting to establish a paramilitary force loyal to the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

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