ISTANBUL (AP) — A new emergency decree in Turkey that grants immunity to civilians deemed to have helped thwart an attempted coup has sparked an outcry Monday.
Critics fear that it could lead to violence through impunity, including the possible formation of death squads.
The new law, passed Sunday, says people who acted to "suppress" the July 2016 coup attempt wouldn't face prosecution. Previously, it only applied to officials and law enforcement.
The government blames U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen for the coup and declared a state of emergency in its aftermath. Gulen denies the allegations.
About 250 people were killed and 2,193 injured resisting the attempted overthrow of the government. At least 34 alleged coup plotters also died.
Rarely critical, ex-President Abdullah Gul and an ally of Turkey's current president called the law "worrisome" and said Monday it should be re-evaluated.
Iyi Parti, a new opposition party, said that the decree could provoke groups to attack and kill opposition protesters, and link it to the failed coup.
Mahir Unal, speaker of the ruling party, said the law was clear in only applying to the events of July 15-16, 2016, and its scope is limited.
Around 50,000 people have been arrested since the coup attempt for alleged links to Gulen and terror. Journalists and opposition lawmakers are on trial.
Another decree passed into law Sunday dismissed 2,756 public employees and 115 reinstated, bringing the number of dismissals in the state of emergency to more than 110,000.