Turkish Bar Assoc. head says general amnesty may extend to drug traffickers, rapists

The President of Turkey's Bar Association Metin Feyzioğlu on Wednesday said the general amnesty proposal, which was brought forward to parliament, may extend to include murderers, rapists and drug traffickers, independent news site T24 reported.

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) ally the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) brought forward an amnesty law last month, which aims to ‘’relieve pressure’’ on overcrowded jails and release inmates who are behind bars due to ‘’politically-influenced judges.’’ Tens of thousands of prisoners are expected to be freed from Turkey's jails under the proposal before the country’s parliament.

Feyzioğlu, while warning that the scope of MHP’s amnesty proposal may expand allowing for over 50,000 drug dealers to be set free, said the proposal must receive a qualified majority vote to pass through parliament.

Noting that even though the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group which has been at war in Turkey for over three decades, is excluded from amnesty, Feyzioğlu highlighted the PKK’s greatest source of income is through drug trafficking.

‘’A great deal of the PKK’s 1.5 billion dollar annual income is made through drug dealers and if we release them back onto the streets so they can do their jobs again, this will only hinder the efforts of our police and judiciary,’’ he said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has expressed his reluctance on signing off on the proposal. Critics of the general amnesty maintain that it will serve the ultra-nationalist criminal gangs which have the support  of MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli.