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Prevention or Intrusion? Telecommunication Interceptions for Preventive Policing in Turkey

Executives
Human Rights
Institutions
Security
Nazli Yıldırım Schierkolk
University of Geneva
Nazli Yıldırım Schierkolk
University of Geneva
Berfu Kiziltan
University of Geneva

Abstract

Turkish Police recently adopted preventive and intelligence–led policing strategies which, coupled with amendments to the criminal code, provided the police with necessary legal grounds to intercept telecommunications and gather intelligence not only for criminal investigations but also for “preventive purposes”. Existing legal and policy structures in Turkey give extensive discretionary powers to the police for interception devoid of sufficient oversight mechanisms, posing a threat to privacy rights. The paper provides an overview of the legal framework and practices of telecommunications interception by the Turkish Police. Based on the data gathered from Turkish authorities, NGOs and the media, the paper examines how these practices place human rights in danger, and in many cases, lead to serious infringements. Based on empirical research, the paper contributes to the contemporary security versus privacy debate by analyzing the causes of rights violations, focused on cases of telecommunication interceptions for preventive policing in Turkey.