Turkey’s main opposition party takes ban on filming police to top court

Turkey’s main opposition party has filed a lawsuit with the country’s highest administrative court overa new ban on citizens filming or recording police during protests, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported on Monday.

The Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) lawsuit filed with the Council of state calls for the cancellation of ban, saying the regulation seeks to violate the individuals’ right to communication and defence, Cumhuriyet said. 

Turkey’s General Directorate of Security announced the new regulation in a circular it issued just ahead of the May 1 Labour and Solidarity Day celebrations across the country, citing the protection of security officials’ privacy.

The circular orders officers to prevent any audio and video recordings of active duty personnel, saying recording officers constituted the criminal offence of obstruction of duty.

According to the circular, privacy violations may lead to the images and voices of security personnel circulating online in a way that threatens their security, thus compromising the safety of citizens.

Separately, the Ankara Bar Association has filed a lawsuit against Turkey’s General Directorate of Security over a new ban,Diken news site reported on Monday.

The bar association is calling for a halt and cancellation of the circular, it said, noting that the regulation damages the principles of a state of law, Diken said.

The new ban has sparked criticism and fears the move could lead to increased human rights violations in the country, where police have a long history of employing heavy-handed tactics.