Right-wing opposition Good Party deputy Lütfü Türkkan compared the watchmen officers that have risen in number in recent years to Nazis while speaking at a press conference in Ankara earlier this week.
“This watchmen method that they are trying to put into law is just like Nazi Germany’s law enforcement officers adapted for 2020. The members of political combat organization of the National Socialists in Hitler’s Germany, known for their bad reputation due to their heavy-handedness and for the fights they caused in the streets, wore brown uniforms. Now we see that the ruling [Justice and Development] party [AKP] has adapted these brown uniforms very nicely to the present day,” Türkkan said.
The AKP submitted a draft bill to parliament last month that seeks to grant the watchmen officer extended powers, such as the right to search and detain people, interfere in the event of a crime and preserve evidence at the scene of a crime.
Following the failed coup of 2016, the AKP hired thousands of watchmen to patrol the streets of Istanbul and other major cities at night, and their numbers have continued to increase.
Türkkan also warned that there was no guarantee that the watchmen would not start acting like Iran’s moral police, stopping women who are hanging out parks or coming home from work late at night. He said that city surveillance camera systems could be improved and updated as an alternative to the watchmen.
“Today on the streets of Europe you won’t see police, but if an incident occurs they arrive within a few minutes at most. And what about us? There are women [in Turkey] that are shot in the middle of the street or stabbed and who die because the police don’t arrive in time. Seeing dozens of police and watchmen in the street doesn’t create a sense of safety, on the contrary, it results in psychological pressure and creates the perception that something is wrong in terms of security,” Türkkan said.