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Turkey: Rewards Offered for Help in Cracking Down on Terrorists

(Sept. 18, 2015) On August 31, 2015, Turkish authorities issued a new regulation to reward persons who assist in the capture of perpetrators of terrorism. Similar payments for information on terrorist crimes and suspects have been made available in the past but, according to the Ekurd Daily, “the new reward system appears to offer the biggest such yet” in the anti-terror crackdown Turkey has launched. (Turkey to Offer Rewards for Those Who Help a Crackdown on ‘Terrorists,’ EKURD DAILY (Aug. 31, 2015); Terörle Mücadele Kanunu Kapsamina Giren Suçlarin Faillerinin Yakalanmasina Yardimci Olanlara Verilecek Ödül Hakkinda Yönetmelik [Regulations on Awards That Will Be Given to Those Who Assist in the Capture of Perpetrators of Crimes Covered in the Scope of the Anti-Terror Act] [Regulations], RESMÎ GAZETE, No. 29461 (Aug. 31, 2015).)

The Regulations were formulated on the basis of article 19 of Turkey’s Anti-Terrorism Law. (Regulations, art. 2; Terörle Mücadele Kanunu, Law No. 3713 (Apr. 12, 1991, as last amended effective Apr. 4, 2015), MEVZUAT; Turkey: Counter Terrorism, LEGISLATIONLINE (last visited Sept. 17, 2015) [scroll down page to hyperlinked Law on Fight Against Terrorism (1991, as last amended 2010), in English translation].)


On July 28, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan stated that it was no longer possible to continue the fragile peace process that had been conducted since March 2013 with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the government deems a terrorist organization. (Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Calls Off Peace Process with Kurds, DW (July 28, 2015).) At about the same time, the Turkish government initiated a two-pronged “anti-terror” offensive purportedly aimed at both ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham) militants in Syria and PKK rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan and southeastern Turkey, which is a predominantly Kurdish region. (Turkey Presses Ahead with PPK Strikes, Several Killed, DW (Aug. 1, 2015); Turkey to Offer Rewards for Those Who Help a Crackdown on ‘Terrorists,’ supra.)

Highlights of the Regulations

The Regulations provide that the rewards will be determined and announced by an Awards Commission, in connection with crimes that are terrorist in nature and the offenders that fall within the scope of the Anti-Terror Act. (Regulations, art. 4 ¶ 2.) The award will be given based on the value of the information in shedding light on terrorist crimes and catching terrorist suspects. However, the amount to be given to persons who anonymously report the identity or location of a terrorist suspect, as long as they themselves are not involved in the terrorist acts, is not to exceed TL200,000 (about US$66,361). (Id. art. 5 ¶ 1; Turkey to Offer Rewards for Those Who Help a Crackdown on ‘Terrorists,’ supra.) This amount can be multiplied up to 20 times, i.e., up to TL4 million (about US$1.327 million), however, with the approval of the Minister of Interior, if the suspected terrorist is a leader of a terrorist group or the offense creates social outrage. (Regulations, art. 5 ¶ 1; Turkey to Offer Rewards for Those Who Help a Crackdown on ‘Terrorists,’ supra.) The person who provides the information need not be a Turkish citizen to be eligible for the award. (Regulations, art. 4 ¶ 5.)

The identity of the person awarded for giving information and the information provided are not to be disclosed “under any circumstances,” according to the Regulations (art. 9), save for the exception in article 14 of the Anti-Terror Law, which states that the identity of an informant “shall not be disclosed, unless they have given their consent or the character of the provided information itself constitutes a crime by the informant.” (Turkey: Counter Terrorism, supra.)