ANKARA, Turkey – A Turkish parliamentary committee is debating a government proposal to increase the powers and immunities of the nation's spy agency — the latest in a string of moves critics say is undermining democracy in the EU-membership aspiring country.
The proposal before the internal affairs committee on Saturday follows a wave of contentious measures introduced by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, including legislation that increases government controls over the Internet and the judiciary.
The proposed legislation would allow Turkey's National Intelligence Agency greater eavesdropping and operational rights and access to personal data without court orders. Journalists publishing leaked documents would face jail terms. The agency would not be prosecuted for its actions without the prime minister's permission.
The proposal is expected to reach the floor next week.