Country Risk

Government-sponsored paramilitary organisations unlikely in Turkey, but anti-terrorism decree risks weapons proliferation among government supporters

15 January 2018


On 12 January, the Ministry of Interior launched an investigation into a civil society organisation called People’s Special Forces (Halk Özel Harekat: HÖH).

HÖH recently came under a national media spotlight when the parliamentary opposition claimed that the government was in the process of establishing paramilitary groups supportive of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan around the country, with training camps having allegedly been set up in the Central Anatolian provinces of Konya and Tokat. According to Fatih Kaya, the group’s founder, HÖH has a membership of 7,000 individuals across 22 cities in the country.

The opposition’s claim came in the context of two controversial government decrees, permitted under Turkey’s ongoing state of emergency, issued on 24 December, which together effectively grant immunity for any individual, regardless of whether they were acting in any official capacity, deemed to have acted to resist the coup attempt of 15 July 2016.

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