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Rethinking the "Liberty-Security Balance" in Difficult Times: Some Notes on the Turkish Experience (From Understanding Terrorism: Analysis of Sociological and Psychological Aspects, P 244-256, 2007, Suleyman Ozeren, Ismail Dincer Gunes, et al., eds. -- See NCJ-225410)

NCJ Number
Zuhtu Arslan
Date Published
13 pages
This chapter examines the Turkish experience from the perspective of the difficult challenge of achieving a balance between human rights and security measures in periods of exceptional security threats, notably the threat of terrorism.
This chapter argues that an effective way of protecting liberties while countering terrorism is to abandon the authoritarian paradigm that there are exceptional threats that require exceptional security measures that erode some traditional civil liberties. It suggests that an alternative paradigm must be adopted that ensures the preservation and protection of traditional liberal values such as human rights without regard to an assessment of the seriousness of a threat to national security. The chapter comes to this conclusion after identifying some of the pitfalls Turkey encountered under the “exceptional threats” paradigm. Turkey’s long experience in combating domestic terrorism is analyzed, with attention to the recent amendments to its Anti-Terror Law. An examination of Turkey’s record before the European Court of Human Rights is conducted in order to show the heavy price of attempting to combat terrorism in a way that undermines human rights. The chapter argues that most of these violations have been the direct and indirect result of a doctrine that permits eliminating certain traditional human rights when the government determines that a “state of exception” exists regarding a threat to national security. Turkey’s recent legal and political revisions designed to prevent human rights violations are outlined in order to show the measures taken to protect civil rights while fighting terrorism. 2 tables and 15 references