ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey's parliament looks set to pass a bill that increases the powers and immunities of the country's spy agency. It is the latest in a string of moves critics say is undermining democracy in the country that is a candidate to join the European Union.
The bill, expected to be voted on Thursday, gives the National Intelligence Agency greater eavesdropping and operational powers and increases its immunities and abilities to keep tabs on citizens. Journalists publishing classified documents would face prison terms.
The government insists the overhaul will make the agency more efficient and meet "new security and foreign policy needs."
Opposition parties say the bill grants the agency far-reaching powers and will turn Turkey into an surveillance state.